Alumni Spotlight: Taylor Keena

Hi, my name is Taylor and I'm 16. I'm an incoming senior in high school and I live in Texas. I love traveling and cheerleading.

Why did you pick this program?


Taylor:I picked GLA Ghana: Children of Africa because I simply love kids. I have travelled a lot before but never with out my family. GLA gave me the opportunity to go without my family. I chose to go Ghana because it's a new place and a different experience then I've ever had.

What do you wish someone had told you before you went abroad?

Taylor: I wish someone told me to not have an expectation of everything before I did it. I would have liked it if I knew to be open minded about everything and not have an opinion before I did or saw anything. It makes everything you see better.

What is the most important thing you learned abroad?

Taylor: Just like I mentioned before I learned to be more open minded. At first in Ghana, I thought it would be all poverty but when I got there and I opened my mind to everything it was all different. Once I stopped assuming how things would be I enjoyed my trip so much more.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Taylor: I tell my friends to just enjoy the experience! The should take it all in and do as much as they can in the time they have.

What was the hardest part about going abroad?

Group Photo

Taylor: I think most people say this also but I had the fear of missing out. I rarely had Internet and no way to talk to anyone at home so it was kinda hard to get used to it. After about two weeks I was used to it but it was hard to get used to.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

Taylor: That's a hard question. So much was amazing but if I had to choose one story my favorite story is the time we went to Fathers House International- Ghana. Fathers House in Ghana is an ngo that takes in former child slaves. They have about eight boys there and they are trying to raise the kids to be able to help child slaves in the future.

We met Jerimiah, he was young and raised these kids. He was an inspiration. We played soccer against them and it was really fun being out there. That story will always stick with me.

What made this experience unique and special?

Taylor: This experience was unique and special because this is the only trip that has really stuck with me. After most trips I miss it but I don't do anything about it. But after Ghana I think about it all the time and I think of ways I can do something now to go back or make a change.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.

Taylor: I couldn't have had an eye opening experience if I didn't leave home. Honestly, having an eye opening experience changed my life even after I have been home.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Taylor: My advice is to be outgoing and accepting of everything going on. Always be positive to all experiences, you'll regret it if you're not.

What made this trip meaningful to you, or how did this trip change your perceptions or future path?

Taylor: This trip changed everything for me. Since I have been back I have thought a lot about college, jobs and my future. I started volunteering more and it's changed my perspective on everything.

What would you change if you could go back and do it again?

Taylor: If I could go back and do it all over I would be in the moment more. Instead of worrying about if I get a good picture or what will be going on later, I wish I just embraced each activity we did more.