Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad - Student Voices | Aga Khan Academies

Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad - Student Voices

29 June 2020

The year 2011, I was in 3rd grade. A little girl from Kinshasa, the capital of Democratic Republic of the Congo, moved to India to start a new chapter of her life.

I joined the Aga Khan Academy in 2011, two months after the Academy was opened. For an eight-year-old, it was quite a big move to a new city without either mum or dad, but the Academy made it worth it. I have been in the Academy for over nine years now and I'm going to graduate next year, and honestly, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Being part of the the Academy has always meant being safe. Whether it was the people or the campus, there has always been something that made me feel at home and comfortable. This place has helped me grow not only as a student but also as a friend, a classmate, a team player and a human being.

I have been given opportunities to shine brighter in talents I have grown to love, such as swimming. I was four years old when my love for swimming was discovered. In 2014, the beautiful state of the art, twenty-five-meter pool had opened, and since then I have never felt as if swimming were just a hobby. My coach always found ways to help me push my boundaries, and because of that strong push, I found myself winning my first gold medal at a very young age and I haven’t looked back.

I have not only found my love for swimming here but also my passion for photography. I started learning photography three years ago, in the schools' photography club. I started learning about the different techniques and styles of photography before I began to experiment on my own. Not long after I started taking pictures in the annual AKAHMUN and through that, I slowly started getting opportunities outside the school to take photos for different events. I now find myself having the responsibility to mentor many students in our photography club; many of them have grown to love photography just like I do. It has been an honour.

Over the nine years that I have been at the Academy, I have learned so much. Right from the importance of being an inquirer to the importance of becoming an "effective, ethical leader". I have become more open and tolerant of the world around me because of my reflective and compassionate attributes that I have been able to gain throughout these years.

This sense of strong morals and principles that I have incorporated in myself is firmly bound to the ones that have learnt here at the Academy. My love for community service and giving back to society stems from these teachings that I have gained from this beautiful place that I call home.

As I write about my experience at the Academy, I think about this French proverb that I have lived by "On reconnaît l'arbre à ses fruits." It means "You recognize the value of a man by his work" and my journey at the Academy has and always will be the backbone to my work.

I am proud to be at AKAH.

Safa Surani