Friday, December 14, 2012

T.I. Amass

My New School

On my first day at school with my wonderful new classmates <3

Amass is just so wonderful, I have only been here a week so far but I am completely in love with it. Being here is like what I imagined being an exchange student would be like complete with wonderful conversations with people that after almost four months without classmates who even scrapped the surface of a deep conversation. This week I have had so many and I am so, so happy. Being at Amass has made me float out of my trench to cloud nine. I have had deep conversations over cultural perceptions of beauty, what is socially acceptable (think America’s PDA epidemic), and best of all, religion.
Although I came to here to be a student, I have spent more time in limbo that actually in school, much to my chagrin. Yet, Amass was well worth the wait. This school is marvelous and such a night and day contrast from Simms.  What I am referring to is in the caliber of my classmates as well as their treatment & attitude toward the obruni girl. At Simms, I often felt as though I was viewed not as a human but as a physical representation of their intense desire for the Western World. I was considered by many as their ticket into the United States and the first thing almost anyone said to me was, “So when you leave you are going to take me with you, right?” or “How can I contact you once you leave?”-This one killed me since they didn’t ask how to contact me here; even if it was just to give the pretense they had any interest in me as a person instead of just a contact for their visa applications to the States. It is not like the students at Simms were not nice, it is just that I never was able to relate to them even a quarter as well as I have been able to relate to so many people here at Amass and it’s only the first week!
Some of the factors are different such as the fact that I am actually in a class of peers instead of juniors. Instead of being in Form 2 (a Sophomore level class), I was put in Form 4 (Senior Year) after convincing the assistant headmaster that I really wanted the academic challenge that I was really lacking at Simms. I think another major difference is that Amass is a Class A school while Simms was a Class D school on a scale of A-D, with A being the best. I’ll write another post to explain the Ghanaian school system more in depth since it is so fascinating and different from the American system but basically at the end of JHS (Middle School) all Ghanaians take a test and then attend a school that corresponds to their scores. I never realized the depth of my value of intelligence and meaningful conversation as a basis of relationships until I was placed at a school where I was essentially devoid of opportunities to bounce ideas off my classmates. Luckily, the whole time I had my best friend, Sarah, who in Ghana has progressed to sister, just a phone call away to discuss our observations of the days and ponder different attributes of Ghanaian society.
I started school at Amass at the beginning of their exams before Christmas Vacation. These exams are mock WASSE examinations which is a cumulative test that all Ghanaian high schoolers have to take in order to graduate from high school. The results of these tests are also the sole information Universities use for choosing who to accept into their school. I was a little trepid about taking test over things I haven’t learned but I really wanted to see how well I could do with no preparation. Thus far, I have taken a Math, Science, Literature, Government, and Oral Literature Exams. These exams are very similar to A.P. tests complete with a multiple choice section and a ton of on-demand essays. I really am quite a dork and have really enjoyed testing my memory and ability by taking tests that I haven’t prepared for just to see how well I can do. Literature was a bit difficult since it was mostly over specific books that I haven’t read and I had no who said what, when, and to whom as the multiple choice required me to. As for the rest of the exams, I think I did pretty well considering the circumstances.
All in all, I am extremely thrilled to be back in an academic environment surrounded by people who I can relate to personally and intellectually. I have really enjoyed testing my knowledge and ability with the mock exams and have enjoyed the people at Amass even more so. I have only been at Amass for a week but I love it here so much and wish that I could have been here since the beginning. Yet, I do understand that since I was able to experience Simms, I will have a view of both extremes of the Ghanaian education. And due to my first school experience I appreciate Amass, tenfold.

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