Describe what was it like to represent the Student Ambassador Program by teaching a financial literacy class for the U.S. Department of State’s Young Leaders Initiative Network that is being be shown to young people across the globe.
I felt like a movie star doing the shoot for the U.S. State Department of State Young Leaders Initiative video and traveling to Washington, D.C. to film it! I am elated to be able to reach young people who are just like me back in Ghana, where there are few opportunities to learn about financial literacy unless you are a college student studying business or finance, and even this is limited. I hope I can reach out to people and share the video lessons not only with students but also young professionals who need this education back home. I will be telling friends and family to watch to watch the lesson I taught on “Investing, Credit and Debt Management.”
It was special to me to be able to reach young people in sub-Saharan Africa and the bigger audience to speak to the world. It was a tremendous opportunity to participate in this worthwhile project and to make a real difference in people’s lives with useful financial education.
Is financial literacy taught in universities in Ghana?
Unfortunately, in Ghana, there is little emphasis on teaching financial lessons in schools or universities. Most people in Ghana are unbanked and do not understand the services banks provide and instead use “money collectors” to hold to their money and distrust banks. I heard that due the Covid lockdown, college students in Ghana are starting to track financial advice and know a few college professors trying to teach financial education online, but there is not a uniform approach. Even if you study finance in college and get a business degree, you may not be able to find a job and may have to live at home because of the standard of living in Ghana is low. Financial education is needed.
Describe what it was like to teach your peers about financial literacy as an SFE&PD Student Ambassador at North Carolina Central University.
When got the offer to be a Financial Student Ambassador, I was truly honored to be selected. This made me appreciate the fact I have come a long way and that as a Student Ambassador teaching financial literacy classes, my hard work had not gone unnoticed. I enjoyed presented to my peers at NCCU – as I got to know each fellow student, I learned about their financial challenges through working with smaller groups and could help them with specific financial advice.
If you could give one piece of financial literacy advice to your peers, what would it be?
My advice to college students: there is a lot to money to be made in the professional world if you follow your dreams, work hard, save money and don’t spend all that you have! Limited your budget to necessities. Save more and be prudent. I recommend spending on what you need and not buying too many unnecessary material things so that you can increase your wealth in the long-term.
What are your career goals and how did serving as a Student Ambassador helped to prepare you for your future?
I graduated from North Carolina Central University this year with a degree in finance, and my goal is a career in financial services. Three months ago, I started a job with Citi in New York in Sales and Trading as a Global Markets Analyst. Being a trainee with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), a nonprofit that provides educational and career support to young people from underserved communities, helped me find this job. In 10 to 15 years, I would like to return home to Ghana. Growing up in Ghana, it was rough living in an emerging market economy where there are few economic opportunities for young people, even those who have college degrees. There is a big gap between the rich and poor in Ghana. That is why I want to work in financial systems to “pay it forward” with the people in my country and help them to acquire the knowledge I learned through my education and work in the United States.
Being an SFE&PD Student Ambassador was a great experience. I was able to learn about personal finance and I want to continue to teach others what I learned. I am grateful for the skills I acquired as a public speaker and the confidence serving as an Ambassador instilled in me along with new leadership skills. I look forward to continuing to help students at NCCU and SFE&PD to pass on financial knowledge and share it with my peers!