Growing up in grace and gratitude | Aga Khan Academies

Growing up in grace and gratitude

16 May 2023

Saniya Alwani, from Diploma Programme (DP) 2, shares how she seized every opportunity at the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad to make unforgettable memories for a lifetime. She made the most out of her time at the Academy – from meeting His Highness the Aga Khan to doing her internship at the Prince Aly Khan Hospital. She reminisces about singing for His Highness on the Academy Building’s staircase during her Junior School.

Saniya vividly recalls when she first stepped foot on the campus as one of the first 70 students to get enrolled in the Academy, she met two strangers – Ms Diana Smith and Mr Aaron Jacobs – who went on to become her dearest.

Over the years, she has seen the campus evolve from its early days, when only the Junior School and the Academy Building were operational and the rest lay deserted, to the thriving 100-acre campus it is today. Over the past 12 years, Saniya has built a plethora of memories of the Junior School concerts, social nights and the Model United Nations conferences, to name a few. The academic rigour at the Academy, however, was instrumental in shaping Saniya as the Philomath she is today.

Saniya is pursuing biology, chemistry and global politics at the DP grade level as she prepares to commence her studies in the field of biomedical sciences from the University of Calgary in the Fall of 2023. She is thankful to the Academy for the learning opportunities provided to her inside and outside of the classroom, including the internship in Mumbai’s Prince Aly Khan Hospital. During the internship in 2022, Saniya primarily worked in the community health sector. Also, she proactively sought to gain hands-on experience, working alongside consultants, nurses and patients that provided her with valuable insights into medical equipment and procedures. The knowledge Saniya gained during her internship will remain an invaluable asset in her journey towards building a career in biomedical sciences.

Saniya also participated in the Aga Khan Academies Exchange Programme in Mombasa. Her learning experience in a completely different continent was challenging yet rewarding. It helped her improve interpersonal skills and made her more resilient and adaptive to changes. During her time at the Mombasa Academy, she enjoyed being a part of the swimming team. While talking about the merits of this programme, Saniya said, “The Exchange Programme develops pluralistic pathways for young leaders and brings a sense of diversity within individuals. It’s a testament to how the Academies thrives on the principles of diversity and pluralism. Saniya adds that the participation of students from distinct parts of the world, such as Afghanistan and regions in Africa, further endorses inclusivity. Her interactions with the student body have helped her find friendships with people sharing similar values.

Saniya has persevered through the highs and lows of the past 12 years with admirable grit. As her time at the Academy draws to a close, she intends to cherish every moment. Although 12 years seemed to pass in 12 seconds, Saniya will never forget the memories she made at the Academy. She is deeply grateful for the support of her friends, teachers and family who have stood by her every step of the way. Saniya feels immense gratitude towards the Academy as she acknowledges its profound impact in shaping her personality.

Interviewed by Sarah Nathani, Diploma Programme One