JMU students and their unforgettable Fourth of July in Ghana

Ghana at US Embassy

On July 4th, 2018, a group of JMU Study Abroad students celebrated their Fourth of July in a way they never imagined. 

The students studying in Accra, Ghana were enjoying their internships when they heard that the United States Embassy would be having a firework presentation later that night during their annual Independence Day celebration.  The students were excited to be celebrating this American holiday while they studied abroad. The initial plan was to attend the Embassy to watch the fireworks outside in time to go back to their nightly routines. Once arriving to the Embassy the students were ready to watch the fireworks outside until they were notified by security that they were allowed to go inside the Embassy to watch the fireworks. 

“It’s one of those crazy cool moments that happen in your life that you can’t believe just happened.” Ashley Harris, junior secondary education major, said. 

Many dressed in running shorts and work clothes the students were making their way into the Embassy with top officials, Ghanaian Chiefs and workers of the Embassy. 

“I felt extremely thankful to be allowed inside. We probably smelled like we had just left an intense workout.” Samantha Amey, IDLS major said. “It’s still hard to wrap my mind around it but it was truly an unforgettable experience.” 

While one thing led to another, the students were shortly greeted and introduced to United States Ambassador Robert Porter Jackson. The Ambassador welcomed them to Ghana and wished them well on their visit. Pernell Whitfield, staff of the program and JMU Study Abroad Advisor, challenged his students to network with at least two people before they left the embassy. He wanted them to learn that networking can happen anywhere and in a quick second. He encouraged the students to find out what their role was in the embassy and what brought them to Ghana. 

“I was excited to see my students spread out talking with different members of the embassy. This wasn't just a random fun moment, but also a professional learning experience.” Whitfield said. 

The Ghana Internship students didn’t expect for these opportunities to happen but through JMU Study Abroad, they experienced an unforgettable Fourth of July all while in another country. 

By: Aaliyah McLean, SMAD/Journalism Major

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Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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