Borderless Initiative, Kenya
This summer was full of excitement and learning opportunities at my internship with Borderless Initiative in Nairobi, Kenya. Working at a small program that aims to provide comprehensive assistance to young Africans pursuing higher education allowed me to face challenges that led me to build numerous skills. The purpose of the program was to create and facilitate opportunities of higher education to students of low socioeconomic backgrounds. I was able to involve myself differently in the program, from helping students create their academic profiles through the Common App as well as sharing my campus experiences and the unfamiliarity of a new social climate in addition to the academic rigor involved in the entire international university experience. Working as a mentor to the young students alongside the hardworking teachers at the program helped me build and nurture a sense of teamwork. This was highly beneficial to the efficiency of our work. Through my hard work I was able to facilitate the connection of my mentees to Kenyan students in various colleges of interest both in the U.S. and UK. By meeting for four days a week and thoroughly working on practice tests, I was able to get the students to be familiar and comfortable enough before they could take their SAT exams. Their writing also drastically improved, and I am certain they will be successful in working on their essays.
I learned the business prospect side of the program, and I was able to pick up a few skills like creating spreadsheets and displays for the program’s finances. I also learned how much work and financial support is needed in running an educational program; especially one that is modeled to help less fortunate students who have trouble funding their education. Some lacked access to technology, writing materials and, sometimes, transportation fare to come to class. The creation of spreadsheets and displays is an essential process in the functionality of the program because these materials help the accountants analyze, plan and allocate funds necessary for running the organization. Through these responsibilities, I gained transferable skills that I believe will serve me well in the future, both on campus and after graduation. Additionally, the experience of working at Borderless Initiative has provided me with valuable insight as to what it is like working in the education industry.
One of the major limitations I experienced working at my internship this summer was the political tension created from the general election that was being held in August. We had students and sometimes teachers missing important days, which slowed the work rate and progress. I feel like this was also important because it taught me perseverance and patience, learning how to handle outside pressure from things I cannot control. I feel like these values will help me handle the different challenges life throws at me.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge that this experience would not have been possible without the help and guidance of the ’68 Center for Career Exploration.