Written by Theodora Yebuah
MSc Tourism Management & Marketing
If you’ve made the decision to come to Bournemouth Uni – great! Perhaps, if you are Ghanaian, you may be wondering what it’s like here and more importantly, are there more of us here? Will you feel at home? So many questions… Well, I’m here to set your mind at ease (Oh, you’re welcome…)
Walking through the main entrance of Poole House on Talbot campus, one thing you’ll notice is the presence of international students, lots of them – that’s phase one.
Then comes phase two: you enter your class for orientation or your first class and like me, you’d probably say, “wow, there really are a lot of international students!” Then you begin to wonder, so, who else is Ghanaian? For me, I’d probably say I was a bit unlucky because I was the only one in my postgrad cohort but did that make me feel ‘alone’? Well, sometimes, but the Nigerians are there! If the friendly rivalries of ‘Ghana meets Naija’ has taught me anything, it is the fact that we’re all “brodas” and “sistas” (Oga, the thing wey I talk na lie? Chale) – nearly neighbours too! So, I was never really alone. Occasionally, you may run into another Ghanaian on campus, and if the person speaks Twi or Fante, afa koraa!
Ghanaians are predominantly Christians, so going to church especially on Sundays is a big deal. Fortunately, if like me you are Catholic, there are churches around Bournemouth and Poole so you wouldn’t have to miss your Sunday services. Some churches also have services for international students in Branksome, so you could try that. The Chaplaincy, located at Talbot House just past the music department (oh, I know it’s there because I go to the piano room a lot…), will provide you with information about local churches and their times for services.
If your query is academic related, there is a page dedicated to Ghanaians on the International Student section of the website, so you can find a lot of answers there. As for the usual Sunday fufu, you may have to settle for neat fufu from local stores because I can assure you, it’ll be hard to come by a pestle and mortar to pound your cassava and plantain! (And the Spanish paella tastes nothing like jollof rice, trust me!).
Then there’s music. I remember the first time I heard music by R2Bees, Samini, Sarkodie and Davido at Cameo on a night out with my teammates. Things got a lot more interesting when people around me started displaying their Azonto moves. For a second I forgot I was still in Bournemouth! I experienced that again when a local jam was played during warm up right before a basketball game. I pretty much invented new ways of doing a lay-up after that!
Then a girl from Switzerland asked me for tracks to boost her playlist (I think I gave her one too many and she may never ask me again!) and for me, it was really refreshing to see others of different nationalities and cultures appreciate mine. That’s why I enjoyed the International Student Day where you get to display your culture as well as appreciate that of others. It’s definitely something you should look forward to. Besides, Fuse ODG is never too far away.
But best of all, there’s no need to wait till Easter Monday to go to the beach! Bournemouth Pier is just a stone’s throw away.
And although you might miss out on the Hearts and Kotoko clashes, Jeff Schlupp and Amartey of Leicester City, the Ayew brothers, and Atsu are featuring in EPL so you can catch some live action whenever. Just know that the Talbot and Lansdowne campuses are in two very different locations so you are bound to have different experiences. Being open to all things new might be the beginning of your BU journey. If you end up at Lansdowne and keep your ears to the ground, who knows, you just might hear about an Independence Day bash.
By Theodora Yebuah