My high school, African Leadership Academy, was founded on the premise of creating the next generation of African leaders. The intention was for us to learn about emotional intelligence, and ethical leadership and entrepreneurship so as to forge a better path for our continent. The founder of my high school decided to start up a university to continue these lessons into tertiary education and that is how the African Leadership University began in 2015.
After a long and amazing semester in London, I got on a plane and headed to a tiny island in the Indian Ocean called Mauritius. The country is truly beautiful, boasting sandy beaches and coral reefs. This is where the first campus of ALU is situated and where I spent my summer working in curriculum design.
ALU has quite a young cohort of staff members but I was still by far the youngest. My manager told me not to worry about that, and said that with hard work and discipline, I would be more than equipped to handle my job. I expected that, as an undergraduate intern, my ‘curriculum design’ would mainly consist of creating slide decks and formatting word documents to the correct font size and color. While my first week there included a lot of that, I was quickly entrusted with bigger tasks to complete.
ALU was in the process of opening up its second campus in Rwanda so I was given an entire unit to redesign for incoming first years. Within the ‘Communicating for Impact’ course, I was tasked with redesigning Unit 4 – New Media for Professionals. This was right up my alley as I have an interest in social media and brand management. That was basically what my unit was about. Through conversations with currently enrolled ALU students, and my own interests in social media for business, I designed a curriculum that would interest the students and create a stronger connection between their entrepreneurship course and ‘Communicating for Impact.’ The best part about the work was that I got to collaborate with instructors, students and other members of the Learning Experience Design team. I got to create lesson plans, rubrics, skills maps and homework assignments that real university students would be using in only a few months. That type of responsibility was daunting at first, but having people to bounce ideas off and to receive feedback from made it much more manageable.
My summer in Mauritius was absolutely amazing. I loved my work because I got to conduct market research – by talking to the students – and used information I gathered to create lesson plans that they could gain the most out of. My co-workers were also very friendly and came from all over the world. The environment was extremely collaborative, with everyone knowing that we had a common goal to reach – educating young people.
I would go back to Mauritius in a heartbeat – firstly, because it is a beautiful island and I enjoyed swimming with dolphins, but also because I learned about the type of company culture I can thrive in.