Photo Courtesy of Miriam Delgado

Farewells in Ghana: A Photo Essay from my June Term in Accra

Arriving in Ghana made us forget about the imminent end of J-Term because it felt like something was just beginning.

Sep 26, 2022

“Two orders of Jollof'', “One Waakye combo.” These are some messages I’m currently receiving through a group chat named “Accra!” for a dinner being organized by the people from my last J-Term. This is testament to how close we became after our time in Accra, and shows how much we fell in love with the country that hosted us for three weeks.
On the early morning of May 31, not even 12 hours after the end of the commencement ceremony for the class of 2022, more than 30 students from NYU Abu Dhabi were on their way to the West African coast. This was the first time J-Terms were back in person since January 2020.
Photo Courtesy of Miriam Delgado
Location: Jamestown Lighthouse
Even though I am a junior, I have never had the chance to experience a January Term, so I can’t speak to how people feel at the end of them. But June Terms seem to be washed in nostalgia because they can be the last time you see some of your friends before a study away, or the last time you will ever see them again because they have already graduated.
Photo Courtesy of Miriam Delgado
Location: Shai Hills Resource Reserve
The chance to have one more class after everything seems to be over makes you feel like there is still more time to say goodbye. But the reality is that no one is ever ready to say goodbye and you will always try to push that moment for later. By this point, if you are not a first-year, you have probably already lived the chaotic moment when you are leaving campus at the end of an academic year: pulling two huge suitcases, trying not to miss the shuttle bus to the airport and barely even having time to think about everything you are leaving behind.
Photo Courtesy of Miriam Delgado
Location: Cape Coast
Arriving in Ghana made us forget about the imminent end that was chasing us because it felt like something was just beginning. The community created around this J-Term was a small sample of the best attributes of the Abu Dhabi campus: we were a varied group of first-year students hanging out with upper-class students and having breakfast and dinners on long tables at the hotel where we were staying with over 15 other people. We learned from and listened to each other, and played Mafia, just like during our Candidate Weekend.
Photo Courtesy of Miriam Delgado
Lunch at Buka, a Ghanaian restaurant that became a favorite for a lot of us. In the picture, you can see Jollof Rice, Fried Yam, Fried Plantain, Red-Red (bean stew), Groundnut soup and Kontomire (spinach and egg stew).
We had the freedom to go anywhere for lunch with whoever we wanted, but still, we would end up tormenting the restaurants in Accra with our orders for over 10 people. We also gave a van rental company a small headache because we needed a vehicle that could fit 28 of us for a trip we organized to Cape Coast. When they gave us a van that could barely fit 20 of us, two of the upper class students accompanying us did not stop looking for more options because they wanted to make sure no one was left behind.
Photo Courtesy of Miriam Delgado
Location: Osu Castle Gardens
We also had the pleasure of making new friends with students from the University of Ghana inside and outside of our classroom. We shared our days with them from dawn to dusk: working on our class projects, sharing lunch and showing them cuisines they had not tried before. They took us to visit their campus and some of them even joined us one night at a jazz locale and on another night at a salsa club.
On the day of our final presentation, when they came to tell us that they were going home, we noticed that this was not a “see you tomorrow”, but rather a “see you next time you come to Ghana.”
Photo Courtesy of Miriam Delgado
Location: University of Ghana
What made us feel more attached to this experience was that this was one of our first glimpses of normality after two years of Covid-19 restrictions. Class of 2024 arrived on campus when table sizes were restricted to four people. The class of 2022 graduated wearing face masks. Even the students of the class of 2025 had their first classes as college students via Zoom. After two years of living under circumstances that limited our capability to create communities, this J-Term allowed us to recover some of the time we had lost behind our webcams and facemasks.
Photo Courtesy of Miriam Delgado
Location: Osu Castle
After 20 days of creating a routine, taking our malaria pills together during breakfast, singing happy birthday to the same person every day (this was an inside joke of ours), organizing plans for the evening with everyone and replying “Ame” to every “Ago” the NYU Accra coordinators would shout to catch our attention, the day came to submit our final projects and pack up.
Photo Courtesy of Miriam Delgado
Location: Cape Coast Castle. This place, in conjunction with other castles, represented the last place where millions of Africans, victims of the Atlantic Slave Trade, would be before being sent to the Americas and never coming back. They all had a “gate of no return.”
Just like the way it started, the last hours of our June Term in Ghana consisted of people trying to make the extra kilograms they had in their luggage disappear, checking that they were not forgetting anything in their rooms and trying to catch the taxi that was taking them to the airport. Quick and unprocessed farewells began to occur, surrounded by words that were never expressed because we only had time to face our feelings once we were calmly seated on an airplane.
Photo Courtesy of Miriam Delgado
Location: Black Star Monument
Thank you to everyone who was part of this J-Term. Whether you are now starting your professional career in Dubai or Mexico, studying away in Buenos Aires, starting your senior year on campus, a sophomore who is still not worrying too much about the future or a junior who is starting to feel like everything is happening too fast, thank you for sharing one of my core memories from college with me. Perhaps we did not have the chance to properly say goodbye, but I hope you are doing well wherever you are.
Medaase, Ghana.
Photo Courtesy of Miriam Delgado
A picture from the farewell dinner NYU Accra organized for us. "Nante Yie" is an Asante Twi expression that means "walk well" and can be interpreted as “have a safe journey."
Miriam Delgado is a staff writer and a columnist. Email her at
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