For TAMIU Students, Holiday Travel to Ghana
Posted: 12/10/2009

For TAMIU Students, Holidays

Spent on Ghana Study, Travel

This holiday season an intrepid group of 15 Texas A&M International University students will find themselves far from the traditions of the time and fully immersed in a new world from Dec. 27 -
Jan. 13.

The students will travel to Ghana in West Africa as part of their selection to participate in a competitive study-travel option that’s part of the second offering of the University’s “Reading the Globe” Campus-wide Reading Initiative.

Students selected for the initiative are Miriam Abrego, Phillip Andrew Balli, Caitlin Barnes, Alejandro Gabriel Barrera, Barbara Irene Benavides, Carolina Liliana González, Juan Carlos Hernández Ibarra, Gustavo Alberto Herrera Jr., Laura Martínez Turrubiates, Diana Alicia Morales, Italia Rebecca Moreno, Michelle Lizette Muñoz, Julio Cesar Obscura, Sandra Karina Pruneda and Jacqueline Rochelle Verastegui.

TAMIU students
Ghana Bound!
Texas A&M International University faculty and students who will travel to Ghana as part of an innovative study-travel component of TAMIU’s “Reading the Globe” campus-wide reading initiative include, front row, left to right: Conchita Hickey, program director, Dee Morales, Sandra Pruneda, Miriam Abrego, Alex Barrera, Laura Martínez and Barbara Benavides. Second row, left to right, Jacqueline Verastegui, Phillip Balli, Caitlin Barnes, Italia Moreno, Sergio Ramírez, Gustavo Herrera, Dr. Hayley Kazen, faculty member and Julio Obscura. Not pictured are students Juan Hernández, Michelle Muñoz and Carolina González.

TAMIU faculty accompanying the group are Conchita Hickey, executive director of TAMIU’s University College and Dr. Hayley De Ann Kazen, University College instructor. 

Students were selected for the study-travel opportunity based on application, interview and personal essays they submitted on this year’s selected text, Ishmael Beah’s “A Long Way Gone,” set in Sierra Leone, near Ghana. Their travel was made possible in part by the generosity of the Lupe and Lilia Martinez Foundation of Laredo.

The University College’s Hickey, who coordinates the campus’ reading initiative, said it provides a rare opportunity for students.

“As an international university, we’re all about expanding horizons, crossing borders and globalizing experiences, but this is truly a remarkable opportunity for our students. Earlier this semester, they had a chance to see Ishmael Beah lecture on campus and now they’ll have a chance to visit western Africa, his home and the setting for his riveting novel of his experience as a boy soldier. We are indeed fortunate that TAMIU and its partners are able to make this available to our students,” Hickey said.

She noted that upon their return, students will be sharing their experience and serve as ambassadors for the Reading the Globe experience.

“Through their experience: their words, their photos, this world will be shared with our TAMIU student body and, we hope, our community at large,” she said. 

While in Ghana, students will visit Accra, Ghana’s capital city, for the first part of the trip, attending lectures on political and tribal governance and receiving other cultural information. The group will also complete a community service learning project. 

They then travel to the Lake Volta region, where the largest man-made lake in the country provides power to all of Ghana via the Akosombo hydro-electric plant. Other stops will include the Shai Hills Reserve, the Tafi Monkey Sanctuary, the Center for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine, and the Cape Coast Castle, the unfortunate site where slave trading began, and part of the West African Historical Museum. Some students plan to blog about their experiences on the University’s web site as possible.

This is the second TAMIU group to travel as part of their University experience. In Spring 2009, 15 students went to Poland as part of the "Reading the Globe" experience for the campus read, “All But My Life,” by Gerda Weissmann Klein. In addition to their study tour, the group created an online journal and blog documenting their experience. It is located at: tamiu.edu/spotlight/poland

To learn more about this year's Reading the Globe offering or help support future initiatives, please visit University College offices in Dr. Billy F. Cowart Hall, room 206, phone 956.326.2134 or e-mail chickey@tamiu.edu

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu