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Home Away From Home

Semester at Sea Student Alexis Amankwanor and her father, The Honorable Joseph Amankwanor, Member of Parliament of the Republic of Ghana aboard the MV Explorer in Tema, Ghana

By: Maria Rowe, Communications Team Work-Study Student

Each Semester at Sea student is excited to explore his or her identity through travels to foreign places and cultures. Sunny, on the other hand, was excited to teach and learn about both her homes – the MV Explorer and Accra, Ghana- when the ship docked in her homeland on September 13, 2011.

A Senior at State University of New York in Buffalo, Alexis ‘Sunny’ Amankwanor last visited Ghana more than 2 years ago. In 2008 when she began her life as a college student, her parents decided to move back to Ghana to reunite with aunts, uncles and cousins.

Despite living independently as a first-generation American in her family, Sunny refuses to undermine her affiliations with Ghanaian culture. “I feel Ghanaian-American, “ said Sunny. “My life feels like an integration of both. I can’t simply say that I’m just either one.” This dual integration of nationalities was evident in Sunny’s familiarity of both cultures on board the MV Explorer. Eager students approached her as the ‘go-to’ person for recommendations on the best sights and sounds of Ghana, trusting her American personality to comfortably align with their interests.

Sunny prepared the shipboard community for Ghana with a presentation on local food in the Union. She explained, “I wanted my American friends to see Ghana the same way I see my country, not just as another tourist. It’s always good to get an insider’s perspective.” And while her friends explored her homeland, Sunny took her foot off the traveling pedal and spent her time with family. Both her parents came on board the ship and attended the bridge tour of the MV Explorer, placing themselves in Sunny’s shoes in her other ‘home away from home.’

Looking back on her family time in Ghana, Sunny admits, “It was just what I needed to prepare for all the crazy adventures I’m about to have throughout the voyage. Now that I’ve been home, I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the world.”

  • Culture
  • Education
  • Life on Land

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