Student Exchange 2019: Student Reflections on Week Three | Aga Khan Academies

Student Exchange 2019: Student Reflections on Week Three

29 September 2019

Over the next few weeks, the students will be writing blogs on their experiences during the Exchange Programme. Each week, two students from the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad and the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa will pair up and pick a topic that they have found particularly pertinent. This can be something that they have learnt, or something that has stood out for them. By curating these blog posts, the students will have an opportunity to reflect on their journey and will have a platform to express their feelings and sentiments on their exchange environment.

At the Aga Khan Academies, healthy minds need healthy bodies, so physical activity has been high on the agenda this week. In the Aga Khan Academy in Hyderabad, students have been training in football and swimming. In the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, physical activity has taken a more social approach in the form of a Garba night.

This week we will hear from Isbah and Rayyan in Mombasa, who recount how the Garba night made them feel right at home, whilst learning about different elements of their own culture. In Hyderabad, we hear from Mwanapwani and Gakenia, who share their thoughts on the sports programmes at AKA Hyderabad as well as news of their sporting triumphs during the week!

Mombasa Blog: Isbah and Rayyan

“The Exchange Programme has proven to lead to a vast cultural exchange between the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa and the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad. We have recently seen a joyful presentation of this cultural exchange this past Friday, 20 September, at Garba night where we danced and shouted out our culture in Mombasa.

In the days leading up to Garba night, we were all very excited to see how it would turn out, and as time passed and we experienced Garba night, we realised the event not only fulfilled our expectations, but surpassed them! The night was grand and the music was the kind you could never stop dancing to. It was so lively! Although everyone is from different places and backgrounds, it all felt so familiar and this feeling was just magical. Everyone at AKA Mombasa who attended the Garba night tried to dress up in Indian attire so they could experience the authenticity of the night and the culture, which was wonderful to see. The best part about this event were the Garba workshops prior to the event, where students taught others Garba and other forms of south Asian dances. Everyone was so inclusive, despite their backgrounds.

At Garba night we all came out of our comfort zones and tried something new. We also had foods such as pani puri, a south Asian dish, cupcakes, brownies and more, which gave people their energy to keep dancing for two hours straight! This event was definitely not like we would do it in India, but it wasn’t even any less either. This experience was not only about sharing and showcasing our culture, but we even learned different variations of our culture, such as new steps in Garba and other dances.


Apart from this night, we have generally been getting a lot of questions about our culture because people are really interested. We in return are also getting to know their culture and this all just makes conversations more interesting. We are still looking forward to the rest of the Exchange Programme as there is just so much to learn about and there are so many cultures at AKA Mombasa! This whole experience definitely contributes to our knowledge of the whole world and will help us be more pluralistic so we can be better leaders of the future.”

Hyderabad Blog: Mwanapwani and Gakenia

“Football in this school is looked at very differently from that of Mombasa. We found that the training in Mombasa is far more intense and includes drills to improve our skills and fitness.

Our experience with swimming here was also very different from the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa. Both training and competitions here aren't as fierce as compared to the ones in our homes! For instance, the swimming team here is large but mainly comprises of people learning how to swim.

However, the trainers and coaches here have customised the training programmes and have made it a little more intensive for us. This is a good thing as we need more intense workouts to prepare ourselves for tough challenges. Also, there are two other people from our batch from the AKAM who swim as well, and we try to train together whenever we can.
Last week, we had the opportunity to compete with other schools. We won the overall trophy in both girls and boys categories. We not only had fun interacting with other teammates from the Academy as well from other schools but had also managed to make new friends!

When we were playing, we weren't just playing for Mombasa or Hyderabad, we were playing to win as a team and that is truly the most important aspect of this programme. We strongly encourage all our colleagues to do their best in whichever field they are in and encourage them to interact with as many people around them as possible. Experiences like these not only enrich us but also help us make good memories that will last forever. For us, one of our greatest memories in Hyderabad will remain of winning the inter-school swimming competition!”

Stay Informed

The students have certainly had a busy week! Stay tuned over the coming weeks to see how the students are getting on with out weekly student blog posts and galleries – and be sure to check our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram!