All posts by African Science Academy

My Experience in London




My Experience In London
Exchange program with St. Paul’s Girls’ School
Sightseeing in London
ASA Gala

I was filled with joy when I was selected to take part in the exchange program between St Paul’s Girls’ School in the UK and the African Science Academy (ASA) in Ghana. Being a first time out of country travel experience, I was scared and excited at the same time.

On departure day, I was very vigilant and careful because I did not want to miss the check in process and details. It was quite difficult for me because I also wanted to observe other travellers and guess if it was their first time too. I had a sound sleep when I finally boarded the flight. ‘Excuse me ma’am, tea or coffee?’ that was when I woke up and realised we had 15 minutes to land at Heathrow airport.

I had a lot of first time experiences during this program. My first culture shock was the weather. As someone who grew up in a country where the weather is mostly warm, London was extremely cold for me. On some windy days I could feel the wind carrying me back to Ghana. Another thing that took me by surprise was how cashless London is. Every transaction is about swiping and tapping. It took me some time to get used to the oyster card especially. I recall instances where I had to go back home for my cards so I could live a normal London life. I was open to trying most of the food I came across. There are some I enjoyed so much and there are some I will never try voluntarily.  I ordered smoked salmon and Fiorentina Pizza at my first dinner out. I may never try those meals again because I struggled to eat them. The fish felt like jelly in my mouth and the pizza bitter because of the spinach topping. My favourite meals were fish & chips and burgers. I found myself eating more of those during my stay because it felt close to home.

I had the chance to present my story and experience so far at the St. Paul’s Girls’ school Assembly on the Monday after my arrival. Ella Boot and Miriam Agiru also shared the experience they had in Ghana. Ella and Miriam are the two exchange students who came to Ghana in December 2018. They were also my hosts during my stay in London. I lived with Miriam and her family at Bromley South for 4 days and later moved to Hammersmith to live with Ella and her family.

I experienced teaching and learning at the school during the week. The senior school had just ended their mock examinations and were going through the papers in class. One thing that was completely different from ASA was their school day structure. There are free periods and a lot of peer-to-peer tutoring. ASA does the A-levels in a year instead of two so free periods are rare.  The senior girls’ had a whole rest room with a kitchen where we would go relax, have tea and toast when we had no class. The study room is also very conducive for prep studies. The school setting in a whole is fantastic. I was also amazed that the students could use their mobile phones in class. At ASA, phones are allowed only on the weekends or during emergencies.

I spent my free days sightseeing at Central London. I visited the Colleges at the University of Oxford, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, the Tower of London, Tates Modern, the Science Museum and the Oxford Museum. I also had the opportunity to watch the musical of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 at the Savoy Theatre and went shopping at Primark.

I spent my last Friday evening at the ASA fundraising gala. Ella and I left school quite earlier than usual since we had no class and rushed home to prepare for the evening. It was an informal dinner setting coupled with fundraising and fun activities. I interacted with a number of influential people and some past ASA students from Edinburgh University. Together with the old students; Adwoa and Aisha, we sang a song from Becca titled “African Woman”. There was also an Adowa performance by Adwoa and a poetry recital by Aisha. I also had the platform to share my story and show gratitude to our sponsors, supporters and trustees.

My trip was a memorable one. I felt like I had experienced every bit of London especially Central London the few days I was there. I am grateful to ASA and St. Paul’s Girls’ High School for giving me this incredible opportunity.


Blogpost written by Emily Janet Tetteh.

ASA GALA 2019





The 2019 ASA GALA
Black women in Sci-Fi
Raffles, Networking, Performances

On Friday 15th March we held our 2019 fundraising Gala at the African Centre in London. It was a delightful celebration of the African Science Academy and it was especially wonderful that we had 4 alumni who are currently studying at Edinburgh University down in London for the event. We also had the privilege to have one of our current ASA students at the event, who was participating in an exchange programme with St Paul’s Girls School.

On arrival, guests were welcomed by an amazing exhibition on black women in Sci Fi, created by students from ADA College in London.  

The focus of the evening was to celebrate the ASA students and so they took centre stage, with amazing performances from dance, poetry to a wonderful song entitled ‘African Woman’. We also had speeches by Efua Adabie (Headteacher) and Tom Ilube (Founder and Chair), as well as, a presentation by the two St Paul’s Girls students who had visited ASA in December, together with Emily, their exchange partner from Ghana. Finally we had a panel discussion with the ASA students who answered questions about their time at the school.

We had so exciting raffle and auction prizes donated by the following organisations:

  • A Bolga basket and textiles book from The African Fabric Shop www.africanfabric.co.uk
  • A collection of natural soaps by Friendly Soap www.friendlysoap.co.uk  
  • An African print headscarf from Knots UK https://knots-uk.com
  • A piece of African print stylish clothing from Mam-Maw https://www.mammaw.com/
  • A selection of books by African authors by Orbit  www.orbitbooks.net
  • An array of African music CDs from Sterns Music www.sternsmusic.com  
  • Copies of some brilliant signed books from Zadie Smith www.zadiesmith.com
  • Selection of books from The Edinburgh Bookshop https://www.edinburghbookshop.com/
  • A sculpture made from Zimbabwean serpentine stone from African Kitchen Gallery https://africankitchen.gallery
  • 2 tickets for a Black History river cruise from  Black Hisotry Walks www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk
  • A hamper by Award-winning hairstylist Charlotte Mensahs own Manketti Oil products http://charlottemensah.com
  • A signed version of an early manuscript for Swing Time by Zadie Smith www.zadiesmith.com   

Thank you for all of these donations!

In addition, we had handmade jewellery by our very own ASA alumna, Aisha, and an anonymous donation of framed pictures on the night, which we added to the raffle. Throughout the evening we had delicious West African cuisine by Soul Delish and we ended the evening with wonderful music.

In total we had around 120 guests attend and raised more than £34,000.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the event. It was wonderful to have you there and we appreciate your support.

—————————————————————————————————————

Blogpost written by Helen Denyer.

Photography by Barbara fromhttps://www.instagram.com/bellabuse.photography

My Christmas Holidays in Ghana

    Getting to meet new people and interacting with them has always been fun for me but the fear of fitting in or been accepted has never left my mind. Coming to ASA I thought my stay or break was going to be boring since it was going to be the first time away from family and home. This was because I thought I could only have fun with my family forgetting that family is not necessarily blood relations. I was wrong because even though I missed home sometimes my stay so far has been a memorable and enjoyable one.

    Christmas is always a time for one to reunite and share love with family and friends. It does not matter where you spend it but the people you spend it with. My holiday started from the day we started preparing for our Christmas party and within that time it was all fun for me. ASA made me feel the joy of Christmas starting from the time we got into the month of December right up to the day of our Christmas party. It was a great experience for me personally as I got to meet some of the ASA alumnae from the first and second cohort. During the party, I got to really experience the diversity of ASA as I even learnt how to do the Ethiopian traditional dance. I enjoyed every bit of the performances especially the performance of the ASA staff. The party was over and it was time for us to vacate and go home, and for me I was going to a Ghanaian host family.

    The day my host parents came for me at school, they did not even treat me as a visitor but rather like their daughter. They took me to meet some of the external family that same day and when we got home, to my greatest surprise there was a welcome event for me. The next day was a Sunday and we all went to church after which we went to meet some other family members. I was accepted and treated like a daughter; my host family was there to listen to me when I had problems and comfort me when I needed it.

    During my holiday, I was taken to the Accra mall, Palace Mall and some nice places in Accra. I was so excited to have gone to these places especially the mall mainly because that was the first time I had been to a mall. Some of the best experiences was being taught how to speak ‘twi’ by the grandmas of the house, eating some of the Ghanaian food I could not eat like fufu with light soup, yam with garden egg stew and Hausa koko. The best was fufu and light soup not because I enjoyed eating it but because I also learnt how to pound fufu.

    One thing I learnt during the break was that the people you spend it with matter more than the place. My host parents did not even know me but my stay with them was so memorable; they gave me gifts like money for hair braiding, a pair of shoes and a dress for new year. The best gift of all was the new name they gave me; Jennifer.

   This awesome experience wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for ASA. So, I say thank you ASA!

—————————————————————————————————————–

Blog written by Eleanor Wepngong

ASA at PSGN Awards Night

On Friday the 16th of November, four of ASA staff members attended the PSGN Awards held at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. We left the school around 4:30pm and arrived at the venue at 5:30pm. There was enough time to network and take pictures before settling down for the ceremony. We were honoured to have His Excellency Ian Walker and other prominent people in our midst. 

The host, Bernard Avle  was very humorous and eloquent. The ceremony started on a high note with a performance by students from British Columbia College who graced us with amazing singing. Soon after the performance, the MC gave the welcome remarks. After the introductions, Mr Rutt gave a very precise welcome address followed by a speech from His Excellency Ian Walker, the British High Commissioner to Ghana.

There was another performance by East Airport International School; a drama about Caesar coming back to earth in order to change things around, when he got down he actually realised things were not as bad as he thought. They finished off their performance with a choreography and a song. Then came another speech from Mrs Efua Asiedu, the West Africa Manager of Cambridge Assessment International Education. After this, there was another performance by DPS International School.

Time for presentation of awards came and the first category was for best teachers. One of the recipients of the award was our very own Levina Owusu. She received a Teacher Certificate of Recognition. The look on her face showed that she was surprised but she truly deserved the award. To keep people engaged in the program another performance came from the British Columbia College. It was now time for students awards; the first category was IGCSE followed by O level and lastly A level. I must say it was really competitive and almost all the award winners won just by one mark. Awards were given for best student in a particular subject and there were recognitions for people who got A*s as well as best overall student for each level.

It was thrilling to find out that six of our students were recognized for excelling in Mathematics . For Mathematics there was one winner and six recognitions and all six recognitions were for African Science Academy. ASA was the only school which had the highest number of recognitions. I remember words by the host “…you are from Tema Community 6 and 6 of your students got recognitions. What is your recipe?” As we all know Levina the maths teacher got an award too so why wouldn’t her students excel. Simply our recipe is Miss Levina and all the staff members who work relentlessly hard to achieve excellent results. The overall student for the year was Leo Owusu who had 4A*s in his A level.

After each category there would be performances by various artists people. Some of the people who performed were Manifest ,a rapper, Samuel a rapper as well and traditional dance performances by various schools. The ceremony ended at 21:15 pm and there was refreshment. We kicked off from the place at 21:30 pm to our various places. 

I would like to thank the Lord Almighty for making this day a success and also for guiding the ASA alumni through their studies and for the good results. I hope that the ASA flag keeps rising higher and higher each academic year therefore I wish the next cohort the best in their studies!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Blog written by Mavis Kazuru

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.

____________________________________________________

Blogpost written by Lizzie Bru