While obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Clark Atlanta University, I spent the...
While obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Clark Atlanta University, I spent the Fall
semester of my senior year at the University of Ghana. That experience changed my career trajectory
and was instrumental in preparing me for a graduate school program. I learned that psychology was
not a widely practiced field in West Africa and that social work was a better fit for my interests
in counseling, community development, and research.
As an undergraduate, I was interested in doing more individual counseling, but after living in
Africa for a semester, I became more interested in working with community members to bring about
change. As a result, I enrolled in the Howard University School of Social Work's MSW program.
The program did not have an international component, so I created one! The summer between my first
and second semesters I spent two months in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I volunteered with a
non–governmental organization (NGO) that had a holistic approach to community development.
That experience taught me a lot about the role government and international organizations play in
the allocation of resources for NGOs. I also learned a lot about the sometimes challenging/negative
impact volunteers can have on local community members and organizations. It was a wake–up
call for me, and the experience made me question my own intentions for wanting to work abroad.
After obtaining my MSW, I worked for two years in Kingston, Jamaica as a consultant for an
adolescent reproductive health project. My experience in Ethiopia laid the foundation and equipped
me with the skills needed to work and conduct research in Jamaica.