Kayla Eason went to Ghana and spent part of her summer as a teen volunteer with Cross Cultural Solutions.
Why did you choose to participate in a teen volunteer program abroad?
I was sitting in homeroom one day and my teacher presented this opportunity. I said, “Why not?” as I’ve never been to another country. I love volunteering and working with people, so Cross Cultural Solutions sounded like the perfect note.
How did you decide which program was right for you?
I had five choices of programs, and this sounded like a great program to learn about myself and culture. Africa was also a once-in-a-lifetime place, and somewhere I’d always wanted to go.
What was a typical day in your program?
For the full week, we’d go to the school in the morning to work with the kids, play games and teach English, math and science. After work and lunch, we’d have activities, like the monkey sanctuary, Wli Waterfall, and hikes. In the evenings, I’d come up with lesson plans with the other volunteers to make school fun for our third-grade classroom.
What was the most memorable moment of your summer?
The children I worked with, and two children in particular named William and Courage. William wrote me a letter before I left after our connection, and I still have it. Teaching at the school was amazing. I’ve never seen kids so eager and happy to learn. People were so kind, nice, loving, and welcoming. I never felt like a stranger.
What advice do you have for teens looking at summer programs?
Go for it. Go fully out when you travel abroad. Don’t stay in your comfort zone. Take risks. Do something you never thought you'd do.