My name is Fran and I am a twenty-two year old from Evanston, Illinois, but most importantly, I am very fortunate to be one of Ally’s Allies. I lived in Europe before moving to America at age five, but have always been a stickler for fairness and equality regardless of continent. Therefore, it was no surprise when I double majored at UW Madison in International Studies and Social Work. I love learning about different cultures, especially when I can apply that knowledge to better serve a diverse population in the social work field. My ultimate goal is to get my Masters in Social Work and become a high school social worker in the Chicago Public school system, but first, I decided I needed to challenge myself by getting very outside my comfort zone…
While I may have overestimated the circumference of said comfort zone, I’m thrilled to be going all in and embarking on a three month Social Work Internship in Accra, Ghana through Projects Abroad. There, I will be living with a host family and working at either a center for abused children or a youth detention center. I’ll have the opportunity to work alongside a trained psychologist or social worker, while providing direct care to the community. I am very wary of avoiding the “white savior” trap, and while my main priority is of course to benefit the community I am entering, I remain conscious of the fact that I myself am benefitting greatly from this experience. I am blessed with the opportunity to become better at what I love while diving headfirst into a different country.
Some may wonder, as my mother delicately put, “Why do you want to go somewhere that may not have toilets?
To use my skills to serve the community to the best of my ability on their terms, not mine
To gain experience in adapting care according to cultural differences so that I can be a more culturally competent social worker
To overcome fear of the unknown such that it never interferes with my desire and ability to positively impact others
To be a good social worker (and person in general, in my opinion), one has to be open to those who are different from them. If everyone took more time to embrace the unfamiliar like Ally did, the world would be a much better place. LLA gives young people the opportunity to do just that-share their gifts while celebrating cultural differences. I cannot thank LLA enough for welcoming me into the family and making this experience of a lifetime a reality. I am unbelievably honored to be part of this incredible organization and hope to leave a good mark on the world that would make Ally proud.