‘Why don’t you go back to your country and help them develop’, these words kept ringing in my head as we walked away.
I arrived in Newcastle on Thursday the 1st of October, 2015 and went straight to the University to complete my registration. However, without my BRP letter, I couldn’t complete registration and had to continue on Friday. Nonetheless, I was excited about the opportunity and exposure ahead so much that I couldn’t wait to start classes on Monday. On my way home after completing registration on the Friday, my house mate and I decided to pass by the park Nuns Moor Park. Here, we came across a woman who engaged us.
“Where are you from?” With a smile we responded, “Ghana.” Then the she asked, “Why don’t you go back to your country and help them develop?” I responded still with a smile, “We just got here, we are students.” Then she repeated this time in a harsher tone, “Go back to your country and help them develop!” Ah! Fresh Ghana boys, we answered all the questions with a smile thinking we had met our welcoming Obroni, only to realise this woman was not. With confused smiles still on our faces we continued our walk to the house.
Not a good first impression I know but it turned out she is the proverbial ‘Mensah’ in Newcastle because ‘Efia biaa Mensah wo mu’. The people of Newcastle are very friendly, flashing genuine and fake smiles when given the chance. You have to be an expert to differentiate the smiles. My class mates are also an awesome bunch, I was surprised when the entire class came out to celebrate with me on my birthday.
Life in Newcastle has been awesome, a well-planned city with great architecture, waste bins spotted all over the city, the city is always clean. With working systems no one chases drivers to pay for a parking ticket yet they pay all the same or wait for days for pavements to be cleaned after rains. When I see how systems are working and how the city is kept clean, I always exclaim, “Oh AMA! Life on Campus is incorporated in the city life as it’s situated close to the city centre. It gets cold, I mean it is cold. I miss wearing my shirt with no jacket. So yes I have seen, heard and enjoyed a lot of things about the city and campus but I will go back to my country and help them develop.
I have enjoyed most of my modules since class started. There are days you get so buried in course work and materials you forget you are in ‘Abrokyire’. I’ve learnt how important it is to pause at times to enjoy some scenes or moments and just live in the moment. Like how I had passed by the Claremont building always and only once noticed how beautiful and gothic it looked. My MSc. Agricultural and Environmental class has introduced me to state of the art agriculture and farming for the future with minimal environmental impact. I have also picked up various business ideas when implemented will help create employment opportunities, so yes I will go back to my country and help them develop.
With days and nights spent at the library writing reports, working on presentations and having group discussions, eating all the rice and more rice and a dream to be the Director- General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisations, I will go back not only to my country and help them develop but I will go back to the world and help make farming and agribusiness attractive. I will go back to the world and make an impact that will be felt by all. I have learnt to think and read critically and not take statements at the face value. I have learned to accept challenges and I am inspired to come back and help Ghana, Africa and the world develop.
About the Author
Akwasi Tagoe is a TGSS Scholar from Ghana. He is currently studying MSc Agricultural and Environmental Science at Newcastle University .