Why study abroad?: Martin Banner

To prospective students,

My name is Martin Clay Banner, and I am a class of 2016 Wayne State University graduate with a Bachelor of Broadcast Journalism.  I recently had the opportunity to participate in a once in a lifetime experience to study democracy in Accra, Ghana, with Wayne State’s African Democracy Project.  This two week trip was organized and spearheaded by Dr. Hart, whose knowledge and understanding of the country is top shelf and impeccable.  I was really impressed with her grasp of the history and culture of the country and its people.  Dr. Hart has not only read and studied the country and its people, but she has also read and studied in the country with the people.  Dr. Hart also knows the politics of the country as well as the entertainment, the press and government.  Most important is the ease with which she converses with and listens to the common Ghanaian, giving her an intimate understanding of the hopes, dreams, expectations, and predicament of the everyday man and woman.

As students enrolled in the African Democracy Project, we chose a subject on which to focus our study and thought about how it relates and/or is applicable to democracy.  The first thing we learned as students was how democracy and its understanding and application affects all facets of life whether your study is sales or journalism.  The readings that were assigned to us and the weekly discussions gave us a leg-up once we arrived, and allowed us to hit the ground running.  Although every student had their own area of expertise, Dr. Hart made sure that we each had contacts in our chosen field of interest.  It was indeed the best experience I have ever had, and let me not forget the meetings with the Supreme Court Chief Justice Georgina Wood, the former presidents John Kufuor and Jerry Rawlings, the US Embassy staff, the museums, the Ghana Dance Ensemble, the walking tours and the slave castles.  The trip was amazing, and it would behoove any and all that are interested to not pass this opportunity up.  The trip inspired me in ways that words can’t explain.  I wish you luck and hope you learn and have as much fun as I did.

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