Yazmin Bennett-Kelly

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Carlow University

Heinz Programming Area:
Study Abroad Country: Cohort Year:  Home Institution:  Programming Area: 
International Experience Summary:

As a Vira Heinz Scholarship recipient, Yazmin travelled to Accra, Ghana for one month. In Ghana, she completed the courses Twi, African Dance, and African Storyteller. She spent all four weeks completely immersing herself in the culture even outside of the classroom. She visited the W.E.B Dubois center, Kwame Nkruma museum, the Cape Coast slave dungeon, and many more culture centers, museums, and landmarks. In addition, she visited villages in regions outside of Accra such as the Volta and Kumasi region. Through this global experience Yazmin has gained knowledge on the biggest slave trade to take place, the transatlantic slave trade. She learned about the beauty in West Africa such as all of the natural resources and remedies for illnesses as well as the beautiful beaches and resorts. One of her top goals was to be able to carry a conversation in the local language which is Twi. She can now greet locals, ask where they are from, bargain prices and much more in the language. Living in the heart of Ghana, she enhanced her understanding of Ghanaian culture through interacting with locals on a daily basis. She stepped out of her initial comfort zone by taking advantage of the transportation system which consist of taxis and "trotros", she overcame her fear of heights by walking a canopy walk hundreds of feet in the air, and grew accustom to the culture differences in West Africa such as customer service experiences and the lack of personal space. Through culture immersion, Yazmin was able to make lifelong friends, create meaning in her identity as an African American, improve her language skills, and gain an understanding of Ghanaian life.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: You See What You Say: Exploring Language Internationally

My CEE was a great representation of my entire team's global experience. We had two major components, one being the dance performance and workshop, and the other being the international language fair. The first portion included an introduction which was spoken word and we followed that by having our international language fair. Each member had their own table in which they decorated according to the country they visited. We spoke about our experiences with language while abroad and had time open for questions and comments. Our theme was "You see what you say", meaning, language is very key to culture, whether it is verbal or nonverbal. Therefore, everyone spoke about different concepts at their tables. I spoke about the local language spoken in Ghana, while Courtney spoke of sign language, Bri mentioned the many African languages she heard, and Anastasia recalled the different Indian languages as well as the body language she witnessed. At the end of our CEE we had an Indian dance performance as well as a workshop. Our attendees had to take their shoes and socks off in order to participate in this workshop. We were all given background information on the dances before we tried them as well. All in all, our CEE tackled the importance and beauty in languages around the world, as well as the significance of stepping out of your comfort zone.