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Chakese Williams

Profile: Chakese Williams

Undergraduate Student

Chakese Williams knew when she stepped foot on campus that she needed to take advantage of seeing the world. Chakese studies agricultural and consumer economics because of the versatility in her school work that it provides her. Through the College of ACES, she has different opportunities available for her interests. One opportunity that Chakese took advantage of was the study abroad trip to Sierra Leone.

“This program allowed me to witness a culture that I could have possibly ascended from,” Chakese says.  “I do not know a lot of my family’s ancestry and by no means did I believe this journey would change that, however, once I got there, the similarities that I noticed between Sierra Leoneans and my family were almost frightening.”

Not studying abroad is usually the number one regret of graduating seniors and Chakese knew she wanted to take advantage of seeing the world while she had time at this stage in her life. This experience changed Chakese’s life in a way that those who have never traveled to poor areas of the world can never understand.

“They did not have much, but what they did, they were willing to offer to guests in their home,” Chakese says.  “Family was the most important thing to them. All of these things made me re-evaluate my values because all of the changes I will go through within the next few years are not just about me, they’re about the people I love as well.”

Chakese learned a great deal about the culture of Sierra Leone as well as herself on the study abroad trip. She chose this program because she was willing to be removed from her comfort zone and experience a culture entirely different from her own. Sierra Leone is one of the largest producers of gold, diamonds, and is also home to one of the world’s largest natural harbors. In spite of the natural wealth, Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in Africa. Chakese realized on her travels that this culture taught her about her own life and values. After traveling here, she realized how fortunate she was.

“The experience instilled a drive in me that is more powerful than before,” Chakese says. “I saw people who literally broke their backs for wages that could not even cover the cost of their groceries, yet, they always remained grateful. They gave praise to the Lord for things that they did have, including the fact that they were alive.”