Renee in Ghana

My name is Renee Lammerts and I’m 20 years old. I like to play field hockey during summer and snowboarding in winter. I live in Breda from Monday till Friday with a friend of mine. In the weekends I go to my family home in Schuddebeurs. I have a little brother, two sisters, a brother and a dog. I study at Avans Hogeschool in Breda in my third year. I knew I wanted to go to a foreign country for an internship when I started my education. I read a lot of stories from people who went to Africa to teach and it really inspired me. I also think that the experience of going to a developing country is really good for me. I want to go to Ghana, because I can mean a lot to the children there. My main goal is to teach English at a primary school. Besides that I want to motivate the current teachers and students by bringing positivity and materials. I’m really looking forward to going to Ghana and I hope that it will be an amazing experience.

Week 1

“Before I went to Ghana I always imagined how it would be there. I talked with student who went to Ghana last year and I saw a lot of pictures, but going there and seeing everything is so different than talking about it. This first week I got a lot of impressions. The country, the culture, the people, everything is so different. I went to the primary school where I will teach English to meet the headmaster. He was really happy that I’m going to teach at his school. I will start on Tuesday because of Easter. The people here are so friendly and they smile a lot. This first week flew by and I’m looking forward to next week.”

Week 2

“What a week. The schools in Ghana are so different then the schools in the Netherlands. The teachers and children don’t see a lot of people with a white skin and blond hair, so the first day everyone had to laugh a little bit when I walked by. Everyone is really polite. Every morning all the children and teachers welcome me. When I walked into a classroom on my first day all the children stood up and said: “Welcome madam, welcome.” I felt really honoured. On the other side the teachers punish the children in a way I would rather not see and hear, but I know I can’t do anything about it because it’s their culture. This week was revision, because the children will have exams next week. I did my first English lessons this week in class 4 and I read some storybooks I brought in different classes. It went well and the children really liked it.”

Week 3

“I have been to different schools this week. It was really nice to see other schools and meet new people. I went to a really poor private school in our street. The teachers were so friendly and happy to meet us. We handed out balloons and it looked like a party. This week and next week I am going to teach at this school. At the other schools where I have been, the children had to make exams, so I only saw the schools and spoke with the teachers.”

Week 4

“I went to Fertisco Academy this week. This is the really poor private school in Ada. I taught in kindergarten, because the other classes seemed to have exams just like all the other schools. I wouldn’t choose to teach in kindergarten before, because the English of the children is not so good and it’s hard for them to understand me and for me to understand them. But because of that I had to be much more creative. I taught some songs and dances and we did some acting games. It was nice to see the smiling faces of the children. They really enjoyed it and I also did.”

Week 5

“I felt really comfortable at Fertisco Academy. The atmosphere at this school is good. I went there for two weeks. I never thought that I would like to teach kindergarten, but I had a really nice time. I got a lot from the children, because of their enthusiasm. We repeated the songs and dances from the week before and a lot of the children could sing the songs along with me. That was so cool to see. The schools have holiday for the next two weeks. I am going to work on my research and I will go on holiday for one week to see a little more of Ghana.”

Week 7

“My holiday last week was great! I saw a totally different side of Ghana. The other Dutch students and I went more to the north of the country. The landscape is so much greener there. On Monday and Tuesday we went to Ho to see the Wli waterfalls. It was beautiful! We slept next to a waterfall in a tent. This weekend we were in Kumasi. There is a beautiful lake called Bosomtwe. We have ride horses beside the lake. It is kind of sad to see the big differences. Ghana is a beautiful country, but on the other side there is so much poverty and pollution.”

Week 8

“I can’t believe I’m here for two months now. The time flies! I’m still having a really nice time here. I went to a primary school called Atortorkope this week and I will stay at this school during my last month in Ghana. The school is only two years old and looks really new. The teachers are friendly and helpful. I am going to teach English in class 4, 5 and 6. I taught my first English lessons and it was nice to teach in the higher primary again. The children looked really motivated. Sometimes it is still hard to understand someone, because their pronunciation is so different than mine. I will make it a good last month.”