WESTON, Conn. Westons Christina Welsh was searching for a different world after finishing high school last June. The former volleyball and basketball standout found it in Ghana, where she is serving in Princeton Universitys Bridge Year program.
The nine-month program that takes place prior to the students freshman year focuses on community service and cultural immersion. Welsh left for Ghana in August, and spent the first four months in Accra. Earlier this month, she left for a village to begin a teaching assignment. She is one of five Princeton students working in Ghana.
Welsh is chronicling her adventure on her blog . She recently responded via email to questions about her trip:
TDW: What was your motivation for enrolling in this program?
CW: I had many reasons for applying for Princeton's Bridge Year Program. I've always loved to travel, explore new places and experience new cultures. While I was extremely lucky and privileged to grow up in Weston, it is a very small town. Living in a foreign country for nine months, and especially in a developing country, would hopefully pop the small-town bubble Ive experienced and expose me to a completely different world. I wanted to challenge old comforts and what I think I know about the world.
"This program would allow me to take a break from academics and possibly stumble upon and develop my true interests. I had thought about entering the Peace Corps or Teach for America after college, so the service component of the Bridge Year Program was perfect in permitting me to dedicate myself to volunteerism and trying to affect change. Finally, since Princeton generously sponsors the program, it just seemed too good to pass up."
TDW : What's do you miss most about the states?
CW : Besides the obvious amenities, such as running water (and therefore hot water), ovens, air-conditioning, washing machines, toilets, covered sewers, trash removal, etc., the thing I miss most is family and friends. It really is extremely hard to be away from my support system and everyone that has been a part of my life for the past 18 years. After family and friends, the three things I miss most are the food, comfortable temperatures and seasons, and efficient transportation.
TDW: What has been the best part about the experience so far?
CW : The Bridge Year Program has been challenging, but I am so thankful for the four other Princetonians who are part of this experience in Ghana. We get along extremely well and are able to help each other work through difficulties, frustrations and concerns. I am so fortunate to be struggling with and sharing such a unique experience with four people who have become such close friends.
TDW: Many people remember your name from sports. Do you miss the competition since you've been there?
CW: Athletics were one of my favorite parts of high school, and I miss the team aspect of high school sports the most. Hopefully now that Im teaching, we can play soccer with our students and the rest of the school kids.
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