Crossing continents: Five CWRU students share travel tips for their homelands

Sarah Acquam headshot

Students from all around the world choose to study at Case Western Reserve University, making the institution a vibrant hub of cultural exchange and global learning. Whether they’re sharing stories of the captivating rhythms of Ghana, the bustling markets of Nigeria, the artistic heritage of Italy, the modern marvels of Dubai, the ancient civilizations of Iran or some other place, each student offers a unique perspective shaped by their homeland’s history, traditions, and landscapes. 

Their stories paint a vivid picture of the world beyond our campus—fostering an environment of mutual understanding and appreciation right here in Cleveland. Today (May 7) is National Tourism Day, which was established in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan to encourage and celebrate the benefits of travel. To mark the occasion, The Daily is putting the spotlight on five undergraduate and graduate students’ homelands from around the globe.

Learn a few tips and tricks the students shared for navigating their home countries, including from Sarah Acquam, MSW student. 

Sarah Acquam

Home country: Ghana
Master of Social Work student

Q: What’s your favorite part about Ghana?

Acquam: As a proud Ghanaian, there are so many things I love about my home country, but if I had to choose a favorite, it would have to be the incredible food, welcoming community, and hospitable people. The food in Ghana is simply unbeatable, with our famous jollof rice being a must-try dish for any visitor. But beyond the delicious cuisine, it’s the warm and inviting spirit of the Ghanaian people that really makes the country special. Many visitors I know have told me they felt right at home during their time in Ghana, which is why we greet everyone with the word “Akwaaba,” meaning “welcome” in our local language. We take great pride in our heritage and are always eager to share it with visitors.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have for people who visit?

Acquam: If you really want to experience the true essence of Ghana, I would highly recommend visiting during December. This is when Ghana comes alive with festivities, cultural events, live band music, and a lively atmosphere that truly showcases the heart and soul of our country. You will have the chance to immerse yourself in our rich cultural traditions. Beyond that, my top piece of advice would be to come with an open mind. Don’t get frustrated if things take longer than expected; just go with the rhythm of “Ghanaian Time.” This relaxed mentality is all part of the charm, and you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable experience.

Q: What’s one unique thing visitors should do or see in Ghana?

Acquam: One unique experience I would urge any visitor to Ghana to partake in is exploring our stunning natural landscapes. From the beautiful beaches that line the coast to the lush rainforests and towering waterfalls inland, Ghana is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in Africa. Be sure to visit iconic sites like the Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, which offer a sobering look into Ghana’s history. And for the adventurous, don’t miss the chance to take a canopy walk through the treetops of Kakum National Park. You should also make time to visit the vibrant cultural art centers, where you can witness traditional craftsmanship and purchase unique souvenirs.

Q: What’s something visitors should avoid when visiting Ghana?

AcquamWhile Ghana is an incredibly welcoming and hospitable country, there are a few cultural norms that visitors should be mindful of.  You will have to be cautious about how you greet people—never use your left hand, as it is considered disrespectful. And, of course, always be respectful of local customs and traditions to avoid any cultural missteps. Also, avoid packing heavy winter clothing as our climate is generally warm and tropical.