Lydia Singerman '13

  • Major: Gender and Women's Studies
  • Study Abroad Program: CIEE, University of Ghana

Lydia SingermanWhy did you decide to study abroad and why did you decide to spend your semester in Ghana specifically?

I decided to study abroad because it was the perfect opportunity to explore a new part of the world and embark on an exciting adventure. I had always wanted to travel to Africa. I knew I wanted a program that would allow me to be based in one location and since I did not speak another language, Ghana seemed like the perfect fit, they speak and teach in English.

Tell us about your study abroad experience in and outside of the classroom.

Both in and outside of the classroom I found the cultural (and weather) adjustment to be the most challenging as well as the most thrilling. Before arriving in Ghana I had only traveled in Europe with my family and had no idea what to expect. Upon landing I was instantly thrown into a new surrounding, new learning style, and new way of life. Making this adjustment at first was challenging but also proved to be rewarding as I began to make connections with the Ghanians. In the end, what I loved most about Ghana was the culture and the people. It also exposed me to a third world country and the challenges that people face on a daily basis.

How did you connect your off-campus study with your Bowdoin academics and extracurriculars, both before leaving and upon your return?

Upon returning to Bowdoin I began an internship with a women’s health organization (Sustainable Health Enterprises) that serves women in developing countries. My abroad experience allowed me to connect to my work with greater passion and understanding.

What do you believe was the value of study abroad for you academically and personally?

Living in a country so different from my own gave me a new perspective. Coming back to the United States I carried many of the lessons my Ghanian friends had taught me. My abroad experience has fueled my interested in international development and has even sent me overseas to Thailand for the next year.

Does international work or travel figure into any of your future plans?

Yes, I am currently working as an English teacher in Nan, Thailand under a Princeton in Asia fellowship.