A TEENAGER from Cumnock has said a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa is allowing her to experience life in a way she never imagined.

Mia Hetherington was selected as an International Volunteer in Africa after a competitive selection process.

The 18-year-old then set about raising enough funds to pay for her trip before setting off in January.

Mia's new home until August is Ghana, where she is experiencing teaching and bonding with children at the local school, travelling to different parts of the country, and integrating herself into the communities around her.

Cumnock Chronicle:

It's a trip that Mia has dreamed about since she was 15, and she couldn't hide her delight when she found out it would become a reality.

Mia said: "When I found out I was going to Africa, it felt amazing because I knew that I was getting the opportunity to help people here in Ghana and also learn all about the country and its culture. 

"My experience so far has been incredible, from teaching/bonding with the kids at school to getting to know and learn about our very small community here in Have-Glime, even down to travelling and seeing parts of Ghana I never thought I would.

"Here in Ghana, we work in school Monday to Friday so we have our weekends off to travel if we like. We also get to travel when school is on holiday.

"I’ve been to a few places, such as Busua, where there was a festival for Ghana's independence called Asa Bakko.

"I’ve also been to the WLI waterfalls and Mount Afadjato, which are the highest waterfalls and highest peak in Ghana."

Cumnock Chronicle: Mia has been teaching kids.Mia has been teaching kids. (Image: Get Mia to Africa)

Mia was keen to travel to Africa and learn about the different communities and cultures, and it's something she hopes will give her a new outlook on life.

She added: "What I hope to gain from this experience is a new perspective on life.

"I'm from a very specific culture, and this has been a drastic change, but it has been amazing being completely out of my comfort zone and making me experience things I never thought I would.

"It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, because when can someone say they have lived and travelled throughout west Ghana.

"The support that I received through my fundraising and even my journey of being here now means so much to me that I can't even put it into words.

Cumnock Chronicle:

"With the amount of appreciation I have for everyone who helped me, I could never know how to repay them apart from showing them how the result of their support helped me get here and doing what I can to support the community and school."

Mia frequently details her incredible experience by posting updates on her dedicated Get Mia to Africa Facebook page.