Areesh Rehmani: Exploring diverse cultures through languages and science | Aga Khan Academies

Areesh Rehmani: Exploring diverse cultures through languages and science

Thriving on the principles of linguistic diversity, pluralism and academic excellence, the Aga Khan Academy Maputo is the third Academy of the 18 Academies planned worldwide. Its rich atmosphere not only nourishes students to be active learners, but also encourages young minds on how to maintain a balance between sports, academics and cultural activities.

Areesh Rehmani, a grade 6 student at the Academy in Maputo, is one such determined and dedicated student. An active learner and passionate sportsperson, he is significantly involved with academic, leadership and sports activities. Not only is Areesh curious to learn about scientific innovations and technological growth, he is also enthusiastic to learn new languages and gain knowledge about diverse cultures.

One of the languages Areesh is learning is Portuguese.  He proudly shares, “Learning Portuguese has had a very good impact on my life. I am now able to communicate well and when visitors come to my school I can converse in both languages (English and Portuguese).” Speaking both languages not only helps Areesh communicate with the local community, but also allows him to deepen his knowledge and learn from members of other communities as the Academy receives many visitors from Britain, Spain, Portugal and other countries.

Areesh also enjoys mathematics and science lessons. He explains, “Learning about new things has made a great difference. It is wonderful that now I am learning things that previously I didn’t know.” He speaks fondly about a science field trip he attended. The field trip was focused on educating the students about the cell theory in biology.  He says, “We saw real cells. These living cells were put into slides and after observing them we had to draw them.” Areesh particularly loved this innovative way of learning. He continues, “Doing this activity, I realised how I enjoy drawing too. And since, this was something I had never done before or seen – it was really fascinating.”

On asking him how he likes the Aga Khan Academy Maputo campus, he says, “I really like the campus – especially the library. It’s such a colorful space because it has so many books.  I also enjoy the IT room because we can use computers to learn. The science lab is also my favourite as here we can do many experiments, and I find science extremely engaging.” Some experiments Areesh and his classmates have conducted include researching about different organisms, using microscopes, and experiments to solve problems about mass and time.

He believes that classroom lessons such as these have also allowed him to become a better team player. He says, “I would define myself as a sportsman. I feel I am an active person. I enjoy sports activities like cycling, playing football, tennis and others. I’ve also played many football matches.” Areesh believes that sports make him more focused, and he is also happy when he is able to maintain a balance between sports and academics. Areesh has also participated in an inter-school football tournament where he was awarded the Man of the Match Award. Areesh says, “I was speechless, but also very grateful for such a wonderful opportunity.” Areesh’s favorite football player is Cristiano Ronaldo because he is respectful and honest.

In the future, Areesh hopes to visit the other Academies and learn more about other cultures and communities. Although learning about diverse cultures and languages excite him and are his passions, he believes that his career goals are more science and sports inclined. He aspires to be either a software engineer or a footballer. He says how earlier he wished to be an astronaut, but has realised how much he enjoys building new models. One day, Areesh hopes to use technology to create a positive impact in society.

Areesh believes the Academy’s learner profile has helped him define these ambitions and has improved him as a person. He says, “The learner profile helps me, and I learn more when I have the learner profile.” He affirms that adopting the qualities of the learner profile allows him to be a better student and a helpful person. The profile teaches him how to be more collaborative, and he is always ready to help any of his classmates with difficulties in academics or in other areas. Areesh explains, “In MYP (Middle Years Program) we have a whole group and we stay together. We have a united class and we are all very helpful and kind towards each other.” He believes, “Unity is the first step to success. Nothing can be done without unity. We all help each other and we grow together.”

By Khushboo Shah