Dalton School, NY, USA
Stanford University, CA, USA
“Learning Swahili opened the door to East African culture and encouraged me to travel further across the continent. Ninapenda Swahili!”
When Nina decided to come to ALA for the first term of her junior year in 2008, she wasn’t sure what to expect. But the experience so influenced her academic career and perspective that she stayed at ALA for the whole year!
At ALA, Nina continued her academic progression with university-preparatory coursework in English, French, mathematics, and physics. But it was her African Studies and Swahili courses that most influenced her. In African studies, she gained a perspective on Africa’s history, geography, and culture as never before. And Swahili allowed Nina to communicate with her roommate from Tanzania, Catherine, in her native tongue.
Nina was busy outside the classroom as well: she was a writer and editor for The White Peacock, the ALA student newspaper. She wrote on international affairs – including the election of President Barack Obama in her home country – and provided a Western perspective for readers and peers from across Africa.
And she was heavily involved in a community service project, in which she and her peers built a community library for the residents of Zandspruit, a collection of shacks housing over 75,000 people on the outskirts of Johannesburg. The year was challenging and inspiring, and she would not have had it any other way.
Currently, Nina is a student at Stanford University, where she is actively involved in African Studies courses and organizations. She also still keeps in touch with her friends from ALA – including Catherine, James (from Liberia) and Sila (from Nigeria).