Sami Keller has never been outside of North America. But as she and 15 other University of Wisconsin-Superior students, five UWS faculty members, and 5 community members boarded a flight on Jan. 4, they were all going to spend the next 10 days in Ghana.

(Left to Right) Riley Hinnenkamp, Sami Keller, and Ephraim Nikoi sharing their Ghana experience in a Intercultural Coffee Hour. | Photo by Paul James

Every four years the UWS music department pack up their bags and travel somewhere new. In recent years, the music department approached UWS communicating arts professor Ephraim Nikoi and started to plan a trip to Ghana, which was unfortunately postponed due to COVID-19 until this recent winter break.

“My trip in Ghana was extremely memorable. Every day was packed with so many things, and we met so many people,” said Keller. “In Ghana, I learned how fast and strong music can pull completely different communities together.”

On their trip, the music department discovered just how relaxed and inviting concerts were in Ghana. Which, in an Intercultural Coffee Hour Keller and Riley Hinnenkamp shared to the UWS community. “It was encouraged to make your own beat on stage,” said Hinnekamp.

In the presentation, Keller and Hinnekamp, shared about the countless tours, musical workshops, and even the food as attendees had a chance to try plantain, a fried banana snack.

It goes without mention that this trip wasn’t possible without the connection and collaboration of Nikoi. Ghana was a life-changing experience for those that went on the trip. Nikoi thought it was important for students to physically learn and be involved with another culture.

“I grew closer to my colleges, and grew a new excitement to see the world view of others,” said Keller. “If I had the chance to go back to Ghana I would do it in a heartbeat! I made so many connections and friends over in Ghana that I would love to see and sing with again.”