Bongekile’s Journey to Leading Positive Change in Eswatini
Bongekile is an AAI Graduate from the Kingdom of Eswatini who recently graduated with a Biology degree at the International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo.
She started the program with basic Japanese skills and pushed herself hard to learn the language and immerse herself in the class and community as a non-Japanese student. As a result of her hard work, Bongekile eventually became the class assistant for her professor. She also became an ICU student ambassador for service-learning and a President for the Ashinaga International Scholars Association from 2019 to 2020.
During her studies, she interned with the legal department at the African Leadership University in Mauritius. Her experience provided her with insight into a different work culture compared to the Japanese culture she is familiar with and taught her to be flexible and invest in developing her network. Other skills acquired included goal setting and developing a professional growth plan with a specific timeline.
Bongekile’s experiences, both professional and extracurricular, have helped her develop her leadership skills. She learned to develop a growth mindset and turn her challenges into learning opportunities. In the future, she would like to help others get access to better education.
When thinking of her experience with Ashinaga, Bongekile emphasized the importance of international exposure. She was able to meet other AAI Candidates and Scholars from over 20 different African countries during the Preparation Camps and interacted with interns from all over the world. Bongekile acknowledged that the leadership framework and the Ashinaga proposal pushed her to reflect on how she can contribute to the world.
Bongekile’s kokorozashi is to bring an accelerated learning program to the youth of the Kingdom of Eswatini. The program would focus on tailoring the curriculum to the student’s learning styles and making the program accessible via different media platforms. She expressed her gratitude for Ashinaga’s support and the role the Ashinaga community played in her growth. She hopes to pay it forward by providing support to the youth in Eswatini.
In her own words, “Ashinaga has been a great nest for me to develop, and it is time to fly to higher aims.” She is currently in the process of looking for job opportunities in Japan to explore ways in which entrepreneurship can transform lives. She hopes to return to Eswatini and start her education initiative.
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