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International Development Studies

A group of International Development Studies students gathered on the front steps of a building in Ghana

International Development Studies

Student Reflections

Discover what former Trent-in-Ghana participants have written about their year abroad experiences.

Salamatu Mohammed - Trent in Ghana 2017-2018

The Trent-in-Ghana program is the only reason I attended Trent University. When applying for other International Development Studies related programs in Ontario, I   noticed some offered internships in addition to the degree, but none had anything like the Trent-in-Ghana program. Not only did I get to spend an academic year in Ghana, I also spent time learning about Ghana’s history with development and Africa at large. A lot of what I had spent two years studying at Trent finally made sense, seeing it first hand in Ghana. Being a Ghanaian woman going on a year abroad to Ghana did not make sense to a lot of people, but it was very important to me and helped to understand Ghana’s place in the developing world.


Salamatu's complete reflection

Student climbing forested areaClaire Perttula - Trent in Ghana 2016-2017

When I applied and decided to go to Trent, the Trent in Ghana program was a huge draw factor; being able to travel and get university credit for the trip seemed like the perfect situation. Going on the program became part of my University Plan. Once I actually got to Ghana though, all of my plans changed. When I thought about placements prior to the trip, I thought I’d work with children or renewable energy. Once we started thinking about placement organizations while in Ghana, quizzes and activity sheets that I wouldn't’t usually pay attention to got me thinking about sustainable agriculture, leading me to a placement at the Ghana Permaculture Institute.


Claire's complete reflection

Dyalla PopitiaDyalla Popatia - Trent-in Ghana 2015-2016

The IDS Year Abroad Program was a major part of my decision to attend Trent and study International Development. By the end of my first year at Trent, I knew I wanted to partake in the Trent-in-Ghana program, and I can confidently say that following through and going to Ghana for my third year was one of my best decisions of my university experience.

Dyalla's complete reflection


Victoria De Schiffart​ in GhanaVictoria De Schiffart​ - Trent-in Ghana 2014-2015

The Trent in Ghana program was the best decision of my entire university career.  I took more from the program than I ever thought imaginable.  I left the program with such a greater understanding of everything we had been learning in the classroom and a deeper understanding of my degree and what it can offer me and my future.  The learning environment was so much richer than that of my two previous years of my degree... 

Victoria's complete reflection 

J'Moi Whyte in Ghana

J'Moi Whyte - Trent-in Ghana 2014-2015

​My decision to enroll at Trent University was influenced by the Trent in Ghana program. I came to Trent with the sheer determination to participate in this program. I can honestly say that spending my third year in Ghana affirmed my career aspirations as well as provided tremendous personal growth. The Trent-In-Ghana Program within the International Development Studies at Trent University differs...

J'Moi's complete reflection

Erin Andrews in Ghana

Erin Andrews - Trent-in Ghana 2012-2013

The Trent in Ghana program was a defining element of my education, both from an academic perspective and from a broader social perspective. I learned so much about myself and the way that I fit into the incredibly complex system of our rapidly globalizing world. It was a really unique experience to combine the theoretical approaches that I learned...

Erin's complete reflection

Sarah Knowles - Trent-in Ghana 2012-2013

I signed up for the Trent in Ghana Program because I wanted to get out of the classroom, to reflect on what I had been studying in anthropology and International development on ‘the ground ‘or in  ‘the field’.  The program met and exceeded these expectations...

Sarah's complete reflection


Student Irene looking back at the trees Irene Brueckner-Irwin - Trent-in Ghana 2012-2013

The Trent-in-Ghana program offered the most learning I could have ever imagined to influence me over the course of my university degree.  For me, Ghana was a chance to learn very naturally, outside of the classroom in a hands-on, real life situation... 

Irene's complete reflection


Valerie PaquetteValerie Paquette - Trent-in Ghana 2011-2012 

As a Bachelor of Science student from Dalhousie University, my unique experience participating in the 2011-2012 Trent-in-Ghana program remains the most memorable part of my undergraduate degree. Without reservation I can say that studying in Ghana was one of the best decisions I have made...

Valerie's complete reflection

Brigitte Onyschuk

Brigitte Onyschuk - Trent-in Ghana 2011-2012

​The most valuable thing about my nine months in Ghana was doing an internship with Challenging Heights (CH). James Kofi Annan started Challenging Heights in 2003, and it became a registered NGO...

Brigitte's complete reflection

Jason Burr

Jason Burr - Trent-in Ghana 2010-2011

As an international development student I was eager to see what the field of development looked like in practice instead of only on paper. I had an experience of academic and professional interests...

Jason's complete reflection


Nika Farahari

Nika Farahari - Trent-in Ghana 2010-2011

​When I travelled to Ghana I was forced out of my comfort zone. Breaking away from your comfort zone is one of the most enriching experiences – personally and academically. It forced me to confront my assumptions and become aware of how little I know..

Nika's complete reflection

Andie Britton-Foster

Andie Britton-Foster - Trent-in Ghana 2010-2011

The Trent in Ghana program is a chance to grow in a way that classroom simply cannot offer. This program is unlike your two week house building project in Mexico, as you approach development from both an academic and experiential setting...

Andie's complete reflection

John Horrox

John Horrox - Trent-in Ghana 2010-2011

Reflecting on my time spent in Ghana as part of the TIG program, I find myself grateful for the situations and opportunities that were available to me. In addition to my learning experiences...

John's complete reflection


Mika Imai

Mika Imai - Trent-in Ghana 2009-2010

I came to Trent with an interest in studying development. It didn’t take the Professors long to make me realize I had no idea what ‘development’ even meant. Studying abroad enhanced my learning experience by forcing me to confront difficult issues...

Mika's complete reflection

Kiri Staples

Kiri Staples - Trent-in Ghana 2009-2010

I chose to take International Development Studies at Trent University for a number of reasons, but first and foremost it was the Trent-in-Ghana program that interested me...

Kiri's complete reflection


Elizabeth Loewen

Elizabeth Loewen - Trent-in Ghana 2008-2009

While at times the structure of learning in Ghana was challenging, it taught me invaluable lessons about different ways that universities work. These are the realities of the world that you cannot comprehend from reading a book..

Elizabeth's complete reflection

Christina Franklin

Christina Franklin - Trent-in Ghana 2008-2009

My year in Ghana was one of the most defining points in my life. Although I had traveled extensively before, Ghana was a completely different experience. Initially, I experienced quite a number of challenges that pushed me far beyond my comfort zone. But by the halfway point I was having the time of my life...

Christina's complete reflection


Ryan Turley

Ryan Turley - Trent-in Ghana 2008-2009

I participated in the Trent in Ghana program in 2008-09, and I can say without any reservation that it was the highlight of my undergraduate experience. During my placement, fieldwork, and throughout daily life, I gained knowledge that complimented the more scholastic lessons from the University of Ghana...

Ryan's complete reflection

Matthew Palmer

Matthew Palmer - Trent-in Ghana 2007-2008

The Trent-in-Ghana Program really served to ground the knowledge I gained in my first two years of study. Living and working in Ghana, I was able to gain valuable international experience, meet inspiring people, and develop a stronger understanding of the complexities associated with development work... 
Matthew's complete reflection

Trent-in Ghana 2007-2008 - Benjamin Rankin 

I was a student at McGill University when I participated in the Trent-in-Ghana program in 2007-2008.Trent's IDS Department has developed an unparalleled study-abroad program.The highlight for me was the field placement. I spent 12 weeks working for Ghana's Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice...

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Trent-in Ghana 2007-2008 - Maria Eugenia Vasconez

My third year at Trent in Ghana was an eye opener to other ways of conceiving and living life, to a different development process, culture, family organization etc.; everything was new to me and this is what taught me so much...                                                                                                       

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Trent-in Ghana 2006-2007 - Daniel Huizenga 

The other day I was on skype with Fred. Fred is perhaps one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. Over six years later, I can still remember him coming to speak to the Trent-in-Ghana class at the University of Ghana about the NGO he worked for, RESPECT International...                    

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Trent-in Ghana 2005-2006 - Hannah Poole

My year in Ghana not only provided me with a context and greater insight into the theories I had learnt in Canadian classrooms, but it allowed me the freedom that I needed to develop personally into an strong, independent person. Although difficult at times, the experience challenged me to question my values and grow from my new perspectives and the valuable lessons I learnt from my Ghanaian friends...

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Trent-in Ghana 2005-2006 - Christopher Mariano

How can I put the Trent-in-Ghana experience on paper, an experience that two years later still permeates so many aspects of my life? Without a doubt, the best part about the Trent-in-Ghana program is the fact that it allows you so much freedom to follow your heart and your dreams while in Ghana...

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Trent-in Ghana 2004-2005 - Emily Antze​

I still remember the heavy feeling of the hot, humid night air hitting my skin as we stepped out on to the tarmac in Accra.  I remember my first glimpse, picked out in the headlights of the van that had met us a the airport, of women walking down the road ahead of us with loads on their heads...  

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Trent-in Ghana 2004-2005 - Nathan Higgins

The privileges, challenges and rewards of being a Trent-In-Ghana participant are significant. In spending eight months in Ghana as a foreigner from the West, as my introduction suggests, there were implicit demands and dilemmas to be faced. Never had I, for instance, been made so aware of my whiteness and relative wealth...

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Trent-in Ghana 2004-2005 - Ali Burke

When I arrived the academic notions of under-development, poverty and disease buttressed my ideas of Africa. Being in Ghana taught me what studying it cannot - the astounding strengths of the Ghanaian people in the face of these obstacles. Most profoundly, it forced me to deeply examine my own values and preconceptions...

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Trent-in Ghana 2004-2005 - Andra Forney

The most challenging part of my year abroad, living in the remote town of Wa in Ghana’s rural north, has also proven to be the most important part of my year abroad.  It was from this experience that I gained new perspectives on the fragility of the relationship between livelihoods and healthy environments...

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Trent-in Ghana 2004-2005 - Geoffrey Cameron

Participating in Trent-in-Ghana has strongly influenced my post-graduate plans. Being able to study and work in Ghana was a short break from the regular rhythm of university life, and it has given me the energy and inspiration to continue straight to graduate studies...                                        

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Trent-in Ghana 2003-2004 - Leah McMillan

When I first left Canadian soil I was excited to finally learn all there was to know about the study of and work within international development. Probably my most beneficial lesson was realizing that, the more time I spent in Ghana, the more there was to learn about the country, the culture, the people...

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Trent-in Ghana 2002-2003 - Bonnie Wong

Africa is indeed like another world itself. I was constantly stimulated by my new surroundings and over time, it became my new home. All the sights, smells, and tastes of this new world was at first very intriguing and eye-opening, but 8 months later when I began my preparations to come back ‘home’ to Canada, I was already missing what was at one point so foreign and strange to me...

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Trent-in Ghana 2002-2003 - Jeff Carolin

In the last few years, it’s become possible to mark time both by international summits, be they G-8, FTAA, WTO or a multitude of others, and the anti-globalization protests that have sprung up around the barbed wire fences. Still, many people living in the West have chosen to keep their distance...

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Trent-in Ghana 2002-2003 - Andrea Nouvet

What struck me the most when I returned from the trip, was the ways in which I came to see how different parts of the world are deeply connected ideologically, economically, culturally and politically. Perhaps I was naive when I left, but this trip definitely opened my eyes in unimaginable ways...

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Trent-in Ghana 2002-2003 - Myroslava Tataryn

​During 2003, I had the privilege of working with the Resource Centre for Persons with Disabilities in Tamale, which is located in the North of Ghana, West Africa. My year in Ghana fulfilled the requirements for an anticipated degree in International Development Studies.I found out about the local Resource Centre through the national office of ADD (Action on Disability and Development – a British NGO)...

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Trent-in Ghana 2002-2003 - Rebecca Butler

Through the Trent in Ghana program I was given the opportunity not only to travel to a place very different from the place I was born and raised but to engage in learning there, participate in community there and make a contribution to work that has been deeply meaningful to me both personally and professionally...

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Trent-in Ghana 2001-2002 - Charmaine Brett

I was offered the position as Executive Assistant to the CEO at Habitat for Humanity in Toronto. It is so competitive to find work in Canada, and I think the only edge I had over others is that I had my year in Ghana with Trent University. My practical skills were very attractive to employers who read my resume...

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Trent-in Ghana 2001-2002 - Rachel Logel

Having the opportunity to understand first hand the realities that many people in the world face, by traveling overseas is an un-parallel experience. The eight months spent in Ghana are a perfect combination of learning- through- doing as well as being educated by resident professors...        


Trent-in Ghana 2001-2002 - Bromley Frey

I guess I would like to start by saying what a truly great experience Ghana was. In retrospect, it is something that I believe has had a great impact on my life. I left Canada at the age of 19, bound for a destination that I had only dreamt about to embark on an experience that would shape my life and education...

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Trent-in Ghana 2000-2001 - Olloriak Sawade

In the fall of 2000, Olloriak set out for West Africa. She spent two months in Ghana's capital, Accra, taking classes with both Canadians and Ghanaians on the economics, history, and philosophy of Ghana. Afterward, she went to Tamale, in the Northern Region, to study development practices and assess the needs of the local community...

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Trent-in Ghana 2000-2001 - Suzanne Skinner

Now that I have established some distance from the Trent-in Ghana program I feel I can comment, with much more clarity, on the entire experience. I had mixed feelings during my entire stay but now I can say with confidence that this was an invaluable academic, spiritual and emotional experience for me...

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Trent-in Ghana 2000-2001 - Benjamin vanVeen

While you may stay in Ghana for only eight months, the experience will stay with you, in many different ways, long after you have returned to Canada. My experience in Ghana has entered into my everyday life numerous times.Whether I was doing field work in my fourth year, or simply trying to understand international issues, the things I did and the people I spoke to in Ghana often came into play...

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Trent-in Ghana 2000-2001 - Ernest Asigri

The street child project I initiated during my internship has expanded to become one of the largest and most comprehensive street child projects in Urban Accra with substantial government of Ghana poverty reduction programme support...

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Trent-in Ghana 1999-2000 - Katrina Marsh

My time during the Trent-in-Ghana program marked a major milestone in my life and has changed the way I view both the world and Canadian society. For these reasons and many others I would urge any student who is curious about the world and concerned about its future to consider IDS as their path through academia...

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Trent-in Ghana 1999-2000 - Heather Fussell

Ghana was a daily challenge. Everything we had heard about Ghana was true and then contradicted. Someone told me the other day that one of the hardest parts about having a baby is that just when you develop a routine, get used to things, it changes. That is sort of how I felt about Ghana...

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Trent-in Ghana - John Hupfield

I am Anishnawbe from Wasauksing First Nation and my home is here on Turtle Island. Yet much to my surprise I was able to feel at home on the other side of the Atlantic. From the first time I walked through the door of my host family’s compound, I knew that things were going to be different...

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Trent-in Ghana - Chris Mahood

My year in Ghana was a difficult, but beautiful year. I can recall moments of frustration, of anguish, and of self-doubt, yet I can also recall moments of great happiness, of contentment, and of clarity. Moments of tears and despair, moments of laughter and excitement...

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Trent-in Ghana - Jill Morse 

My experience living, studying and working in Ghana through theTrent-in-Ghana program not only taught me a lot about myself and Ghana, it also gave me the opportunity to further develop critical thinking skills and gain practical experience in public health...

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