Akwaaba! My name is Justin Boschman and I am in the fourth and final year of my BA Major in Sociology. I started off my post-secondary career as a psychology major but switched after taking a few sociology courses.
The seeds of my interest in sociology, human rights and social justice were sown at a young age. Although I had been to the Philippines to visit my mother’s family previously, it was the trip I had taken at the age of 9 that made me aware of the socioeconomic disparities. I asked my parents some questions regarding the poverty of my mom’s side of the family and the country in general, which they answered as best they could. But I couldn’t hope to understand with any semblance of clarity until I was a bit older. The next time I was there was at the age of 14, and by then I was old enough to ask questions that I myself could answer with a bit of research and personal observation.
During this trip, my father and my uncle took me backpacking through the mountainous rural areas of the Northern Philippines. My dad had spent most of his twenties backpacking through India, China and other areas in Southeast Asia (until I came around and ruined it he says ). His stories gave me a desire to embark on some new adventures with him. We rode in buses and vans along narrow mountain roads barely wide enough for a single vehicle, worked our way through jungle paths and caves filled with coffins, weathered a typhoon in the basement of our hostel, and rebuilt sections of road with our hands, shovels and rocks where the waters had turned them to mud. By the end I was soaked to the bone, caked with mud and exhausted. But it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.
I look forward to the adventures that the Ghana field school (GFS) will provide. Previously I had been planning on going to volunteer and backpack through Thailand before I was aware of the GFS. If I could do something similar and earn 6 credits at the same time , I figured, “Why not?” I also expect the GFS to provide me with useful experience and information regarding cultural immersion, volunteer work and NGO’s that I would not have been aware of if I had just dived in by myself. I still plan on going to Thailand in the near future, but I know that after the GFS I will be much more well informed and equipped to take on its challenges.
My parents are an inspiration for my endeavours, as they are putting my cousins in the Philippines through post-secondary school. All 7 of them are younger than me, with one on his way to becoming a police officer and another going to school for chemical engineering. It is wonderful to see them flourish and do what they really want to do, rather than being stuck in the cycles of laborious poverty like so many of their peers. If I could accomplish even a fraction of what my parents have done in terms of being supportive and empowering global citizens, I will be happy.
I have ideas of someday working in an Embassy with the Department of Foreign Affairs, or possibly becoming a survival/mountaineering instructor. I know, two very different trains of thought… At this point in my life the possibilities are wide open, and I look forward to the GFS providing me with some invaluable skills and incredible life experiences.