Serena Kienbaum

Even as a UW-Superior Online Learning student, Serena Kienbaum was able to travel to Ghana during the 2012-13 Study Abroad Program.


What is unique about the Study Away program in Ghana program is that it is not only offered to students who attend classes on campus but to students who are enrolled in Online Learning as well.


Serena Kienbaum traveled to Ghana with Dr. Nikoi and several other students during the 2012-2013 Study Away program. Serena, an employee at United HealthCare, worked with her employers, who are very supportive of education, to arrange for time off from work. She got a roommate, which allowed her to save some money to help pay for her trip. She also received a student loan to cover the remainder of the cost. Serena paid her bills one month in advance and began her 28-day experience in Ghana.


Her Individual Study while in Ghana was to focus on culture such as food, fashion, music and traditions/ceremonies. To help with her research, she was able to attend a Catholic wedding and a dinner with dance and drum ceremonies (all students attended the dinner as it was a farewell ceremony).

Serena learned so many things during her stay in Ghana, including "learning to not take things for granted and to slow down and enjoy life." One of her favorite places to visit was the Makola Market, while one of her most memorable visits was to a slave castle. She described the slave castle as a "humbling experience." She also enjoyed the lectures at the University of Winneba.


Serena's advice to students considering this opportunity, "It is very important to learn the local customs of a culture before you study abroad. This helps avoid misunderstandings and will only enhance your visit while traveling. Don't be afraid to try new things; this opens doors to a lot of experience and you will learn a lot about yourself as well."