Lauryn Robinson

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Duquesne University

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
International Experience Summary:

Lauryn Taylor Robinson spent 4 weeks traveling the regions of Ghana, Africa. While traveling through the Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Accra, Northern and Central regions on weekends, Lauryn studied African Traditional Religion and Ghanaian music during the week. While learning local languages like Twi, Ewe and Ga Lauryn spent time with locals uncovering Ghanaian music and it’s impact on local culture. Lauryn worked with professors at the University of Cape Coast to discover the many techniques and styles like highlife, reggae and hiplife. While in Cape Coast, Ghana, Lauryn visited the Cape Coast and Elmina castles that served as key slave trading posts for the Portuguese and English for decades. Lauryn spent most of her time in Cape Coast learning about the history of the historic city while revealing a sense of origin. Throughout her journey, Lauryn learned about religious dynamics through attending several Christian, Traditional African Religion and Muslim services and places of worship. One of Lauryn's favorite visits was that to the Larabonga Mosque, which is the oldest Mosque in Ghana and possibly all of West Africa. In efforts to immerse herself in every aspect of the culture, Lauryn volunteered at local schools and got to know several school teachers in the northern and central regions. While in Kumasi, Ghana Lauryn explored the depths of Africa Traditional religion by attending a traditional service, and meeting a traditional African Priest and Chief. After learning about the complexities of African Traditional Religion through her coursework, she witnessed a traditional procession of a Priest and a 10 year old soon –to- be priest. Lauryn spent other weekends traveling to the northern region’s Mole National Park to see local baboons wandering their streets and visiting the central region’s Kakum National Park for canopy walks over 160 feet in the air.  In her short time in Ghana, Africa Lauryn fell madly in love with the culture and the people. She hopes to travel back to Ghana within the next few years to work with an international organization that focuses on helping Ghanaians that are transitioning to America.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title:  Beauty Around The World

Beauty Standards around the world talked directly about the different beauty standards and stereotypes women face in different countries and aimed to unite women worldwide through their mutual struggles. We worked both through group discussion and intimate roundtable discussions. First we discussed the different beauty standards, stereotypes, and beauty struggles in Ghana, Prague and Spain. These were the three countries my team members traveled to. Later we tied our different encounters with our host country and to beauty in the United States. This fueled the group discussion and a mid-presentation question and answer portion was held. Next we had round table discussions were our personal feelings on societal pressures were revealed. Here we talked about beauty standards for men, cultural appropriation and other topics. Snacks were served and the group seemed very comfortable. Our participants had an open space to discuss their beauty pressures as well as the campus climate regarding women. Later we played a cultural appropriation game where people were forced to recognize how often they appropriate cultures and judge women without noticing. Overall the climate was very relaxing and the audience felt unbelievably comfortable and willing to talk about such a sensitive topic.