Belgian teacher Veerle Masscheleyn works in Accra, Ghana in search of a “fine climate and slow pace of life.”

"I’m a Belgian teacher working in Ghana, West-Africa. In 2009, I moved here with my family to avoid the rat race and leave a smaller ecological footprint. Wanting to teach, I looked for an appointment in a government school, but that was a tall order. Finally, with the help of The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), I was posted in a Presbyterian Secondary Technical School, in Aburi, about one hour outside of the capital, Accra. I wanted to teach in a government school, because the private schools really pay very poorly in Ghana.

This was a whole new ball game. The first months, all eyes were on me, but after two years, I’ve found my place in the group and I now feel accepted. However, I had to cope with financial challenges, since it took 16 months to receive my salary. Another challenge was adapting to my audience. Belgian children are inherently critical, so teachers are trained to work deductively. It is not the case here. It remains a tremendous yearly task to acquaint students with my teaching methods (e.g. class discussions, project work, etc). Teaching teenagers to criticize mundane issues has become my ultimate goal. Also, I had to get used to teaching classes of sixty-five or more without modern conveniences. Schoolbooks, if present, are often useless and costly.

In all, the fine climate and slow pace of life make up for the challenges I’ve faced so far. And while you are reading this, I’ll surely be teaching pupils such literary classics as ‘The Importance of Being Earnest.’"