From Cumbria to Ghana, a student is going out on a limb to experience new cultures whilst getting practical experience.

Lena Shimmin, 17 from Heads Nook, will spend the next year in Ghana teaching children before she embarks upon her university studies.

She has been raising money to go out to there in a variety of ways such as by hosting a ceilidh for friends and family and with the help of local trusts.

Lena, a student at William Howard School, said: “I have always wanted to travel or live somewhere new and exciting with an intriguing new culture.

“Both my parents have lived and worked abroad, and have some great experiences that they still treasure, this has allowed me to grow up surrounded by different cultures and nationalities.”

A lot of young people are now taking time to travel after leaving school.

Schemes like Project Trust, which Lena is taking part in, gives them an opportunity to experience different cultures whilst developing skills which will help them after their adventure.

She said: “At first, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at university so this was a big incentive to give myself more time.

“I have always wanted to travel so I was looking at lots of different options to do this sort of thing, some were much shorter for around two months that I could have done before university.

“Once I found project trust I just decided that it was what I wanted to do.”

It’s a time of both excitement and apprehension as Lena prepares to live independently in an unfamiliar country, but excitement seems to outweigh the nerves.

“Ghana is known for its rich culture shown in its food and music with a big Jamaican influence which originated from the slave trade.”

Lena’s parents are proud of her for taking the plunge to do something like this.

“I think my dad is a bit jealous too, if he could he’d be in Africa now probably,” she remarked.