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  • Njini Nathan, Open Dreams


After a hectic experience receiving rejection letters for scholarships I had applied to within October 2017 and February 2018, a YES of admission to KNUST and an offer to study as a MasterCard Foundation Scholar at the same university came as a wind of hope to pursue the future I sought. In this blog, I detail my experience studying in Ghana as a freshman.

After a series of orientations in my first week, I was ready for the experience I always sought for – studying abroad in a highly accredited university and having a taste of diversity. The first week did not turn out very exciting as I had a hard time understanding some of my classmates. Their accent and communication flow were hard to apprehend. They also used the Ghanaian pidgin English frequently which I still have trouble understanding. I started engaging and getting to know more people and now, I am fully integrated with the system.

Academic life in the College of Engineering at my university is both challenging and exciting. I enjoy most of my professors and their simplicity alongside that of my classmates make the learning experience amazing. The student learning facilities in my College and in the university are unlike I expected in an African university.

A lot of organisations affiliated to the university organise trainings and workshops which initiate us into the careers we seek to build. Creativity, leadership and entrepreneurial thinking are valued and fostered in my University. More to these, a foreign student as I am, benefits from the attention of the community in KNUST which gives a richer experience. Aside getting a top-notch education and academic experience, KNUST is moulding a knack for problem-solving in me. Countless times, our professors remind us of the need to build our attitudes and problem-solving skills to be useful to our communities. I take these seriously and now that my journey in KNUST is on the go, I hope to make the best out of it, utilising every opportunity I find.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholar’s program offers a lot of opportunities which have been empowering and life changing. The transformative leadership seminars, transformation project within school, counselling services, peer mentorship and other scholar support services have added value to my life, increased my inter-personal skills and elevated the work Open Dreams started. The foundation creates opportunities for scholars to network and learn from each other through several meetings, dinners and other programs. I meet new people everyday from different countries across Africa. Listening to their stories and culture has opened my world and enlightened my views.

Touring the Ashanti Region and Kumasi town has opened my experience to the rich culture of Ghana. Their investment in the cultural and political heritage left me perplexed. I am still contemplating which is better: the famous “Kente” designs with the “Adinkra” symbols or the Cameroon “Toghu” with its famous gong designs. I have had a taste of Africa’s diversity. Experiencing Ghana in the Kumasi city is very exciting. I have explored several places, learnt basics of the Akan language, which is widely used in the town. Several symbols exist in the city that portray the values of the Akan and Ghanaian culture. More to this, I came to meet a Cameroonian students' association which has turned out useful in reminding me of my roots. We engage in several activities, making my stay just wonderful.

Several challenges came this year. An unforeseen circumstance of an anticipated peaceful student representative council strike resulted in an impasse. This grounded school for 3 weeks and for a moment, I was scared what might happen. Thankfully, everything was resolved, and the ruined school properties were fixed. This however, resulted in an extension of the academic year. If you desire to study in an African University, Ghana is one of the best options. I have tasted first hand what it means to study in Ghana

I am grateful to the Open Dreams family and my Open Dreams mentor Miss Kimberly Skead. I am forever grateful for the indispensable support. I also appreciate my family and Mr. Tah Kennette for all the support. Finally, I am grateful to the MasterCard Foundation scholars’ program at KNUST for the priceless aid they have offered in my education journey. At the end of it all, the essence is being a solution to a problem, and giving back to society.

To current Open Dreams Scholars, putting enormous effort to secure a scholarship, you need not know anyone as it is the case in many African institutions for success. All you need is in you. Summon your best self and I guarantee you will be blown away by the results.

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