Lizzie’s ASA experience

When I landed in Accra on the evening of the 1st September 2018, I had no idea that my experience at ASA would surpass all of my expectations. Welcomed so warmly by the girls who were ending their evening entertainment with music and dancing, I was immediately immersed in the lively, exciting environment that they all helped me settle into. It seems impossible to summarise my experience here in just a few paragraphs, so I’ll do my best to give a glimpse of my whirlwind of a stay.

From my first morning here I dived straight into the busy ASA life, running a maths SAT class on Sunday morning (the girls were preparing to take the test in just over a month) and participating in assembly in the afternoon, where I got to know each of them better. With their Maths AS Level exams coming up soon and university applications in sight, they were all keen for advice so I found my favourite spot in the outdoor chillout area where the girls came to see me. I really enjoyed getting to know each of them individually and knew from that moment that I would spend an exciting three weeks.

On Monday began the busy school routine. Levina and Hubert, the maths and physics teachers, were keen for me to assist their lessons and helped me to get a feel for what in particular I could do to help the girls during my stay. I worked a lot with the girls on an individual basis, going through A Level maths and physics problems with them, tailoring revision for their upcoming exams, giving advice on university applications and helping with general work ethic and organisation. Having recently been through the same process, I was so happy to be able to help them in any way I could during this hectic time in their school life. I ran sessions on anything the girls would find useful, ranging from practical skills (they were fascinated by my obsession for significant figures and units!) to specific maths and physics problem solving to general study advice. I held smaller group sessions on practicals too, where I was impressed with how quickly and enthusiastically all the girls picked up new skills and mastered the use of Vernier calipers and micrometers. I ran larger group SAT classes, preparing lessons on specifically requested topics and monitoring their individual progress to help them prepare in the most effective way possible. I have never met such a hard-working group of individuals, and I can certainly say that they kept me on my toes throughout the three weeks with their never-ending intellectual curiosity – I found myself working with them non-stop from 7am until 10pm almost every day!

Saturday evening entertainment marked a highlight to each week: the girls chose an activity and ran it themselves for everyone’s enjoyment. I was lucky enough to experience ‘ASA goes traditional!’ where the girls dressed up in clothes from their local region and told some of their local stories, accompanied by performances of their traditional dance. I will never forget the stories I heard or the impressive dances I got to see – I think all of us agreed that Meklit’s Ethiopian shoulder dance was one of the most unforgettable!

I have learnt a huge amount from my stay at ASA. The hard work of all the staff and girls produces a unique, fast-paced and intellectually stimulating environment with a very exciting future, where the girls are taught that they can do anything they want in life so long as they put the work in.

I’d like to end with a huge thank you to all the staff and students for enabling me to experience this wonderful school. Thank you to Carlene, Yaa and Bella for looking after me so well and for taking me around to discover a new culture; to Levina and Hubert for making me feel so welcome around the school; and to Ann and Efua for receiving me so well and ensuring all ran smoothly. Finally, thank you to all 22 girls of the 2018/19 cohort who made my stay here some of the best three weeks of my life: Eleanor, Augusta, Suliat, Nenna, Meklit, Mariam, Albright, Nancy, Mabel, Monalisa, Aminat, Seiba, Edith, Cedella, Emily, Alice, Anita, Shedika, Fiona, Melinda, Emmanuella and Vivian.

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Blogpost written by Lizzie Bru