Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
placeholder article
placeholder article

Her Campus Girl Crush: Ella Tazuana Johnson

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bucknell chapter.

Major: Linguistics; Arabic Studies Minor

Class Year: 2017 holla

Hometown: Los Angeles


Can you tell us a little bit about your experiences studying in Ghana and Jordan during the past semester?  

I participated in Bucknell in Ghana Spring 2016 and an Arabic Language program in Jordan Summer 2016. For me, Ghana was definitely an eye-opening experience, as it wasn’t the typical study abroad experience as you would have in places in Europe. While somewhat Westernized, Ghana is a developing country, and that alone came with its own set of adjustments. I was definitely out of my comfort zone in a place where I, ironically, was considered “white.” The most poignant of my experiences was my tour of two slave castles that were used for the TransAtlantic Slave Trade, both which were within 15-20 minutes from the campus I went to and lived at. It was an eerie feeling, as someone who is a part of the Black Diaspora, to see these massive fortresses built for people who could very well have been my ancestors.

I absolutely loved Jordan. I did everything I could do to get there. I mostly stayed in Amman, the capital, which is very much like a city in the US, but with Arabic writing everywhere. It was awesome. But the culture is still different. Some of my favorite aspects of Jordan and my brief visit to Egypt include: definitely learning Arabic, getting baptised in the Jordan River (near the biblical place that Jesus was also baptised), floating in the Dead Sea for the first time, diving in the Red Sea in Egypt, experiencing Ramadan (a holy month of fasting for Muslims), living with an Arab family, meeting other foreigners in Amman, volunteering with youth at a summer camp, and teaching English to those who wanted the help.

What types of things did you learn abroad that you have brought back with you for your senior year?

The experience of being a country in which I didn’t know the language fully, the people, or the culture first hand taught me that if I can do something as awesome as what I did simply by being in Ghana and Jordan, I can do so much more the next time I go somewhere. It also taught me that no matter what I may have gone through in my life, as an American citizen, I have so many advantages that other people, simply being from a particular country, don’t have. I try to remain grateful and appreciative for all of the things that I’ve been fortunate enough to receive and participate in at Bucknell, and as a senior, will continue to remember as the year progresses.

How have your experiences abroad affected your view of Bucknell campus culture, especially now that you are a senior?

My view of Bucknell has slightly changed. I hear people complain about the most ridiculous things, and it drives me crazy. I think the campus culture is the same, but obviously my views are slightly different to begin with due to my various backgrounds. As a senior, it’s hard to relate to most people to be honest, including some of my own friends now. Coming back, I definitely have had reverse culture shock. And I also have some questions. Like, since when did we have all these skaters on campus? And why can’t people say hi, even though we obviously made eye contact? And why do people say “lit” so much? And why does it cost $3.50 for two sliced strawberries in a cup? And if you were so-called “black-out”, how are you able to recall every detail of the night? These are questions that need answers. And why do some of you care more about a gorilla or dog than you do of the lives of people unjustly killed? Just curious. After being abroad, I can’t wait to graduate and go back abroad. Kind of a negative viewpoint, but I know I’m not alone. I will say though, despite everything, I am appreciative of everything I’ve received and had the opportunity to do at Bucknell.

How would you describe your campus style?

Basically I just wear whatever I want because why not? Majority of my clothes have some sort of colorful pattern. I don’t have many clothes that are solid colored now that I think about it. Pants are my enemy. I prefer dresses or skirts of all types. I have a lot of clothing from Ghana now, so I try rock that too.


Fun Facts: 

  • I have 8 sisters and 5 brothers
  • I’ve been in a commercial with Mark Wahlberg
  • I made a rap video on YouTube about air pollution, called “Air Pollution’s bad” lol

Favorite Downtown Lewisburg Spot: Bruh, I don’t even know what’s downtown anymore. The Lewisburg Prison Project if I had to choose.

Favorite Class at Bucknell: Middle East Conflict/Revolution; Intro to Computer Science :)

Campus Activities: Posse Scholar, The Silhouettes, BuckWild Leader, The Commons, Lewisburg Prison Project, Fall Fest Committee, Katrina Recovery Team, Peace Corps Campus Ambassador, Muslim Student Association, Black Student Union, Bucknell’s Africa Student Association, I Felta Thigh ;), etc., etc.

Campus Squad: Posse Fam, Summit House Fam, anyone who’s down for the cause, Zoe Russell

Celeb Crush: Adam Rodriguez, Alfie Enoch, Jeremy Lin, Jesse Williams, Jeff Goldblum

Proudest Accomplishment: The look on my mom’s face when she dropped me off at the airport the first time I entered college.

Three Words to Describe Yourself: Focused, Sincere, Thankful

What's up Collegiettes! I am so excited to be one half of the Campus Correspondent team for Bucknell's chapter of Her Campus along with the lovely Julia Shapiro.  I am currently a senior at Bucknell studying Creative Writing and Sociology.