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Before The Experience – The 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship

On the 24th of May, 2015, I received an email from the Mandela Washington Stuff congratulating me on being selected for the the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship program for Young African Leaders.

How I got to be a fellow? it almost didn’t happen. I was excited about applying for the fellowship, so I took my time and tried my very best in communicating what I wanted to say during the application. I received an email a couple of months later inviting me for an interview in Tamale. It was great news and I was excited, but at that time I was in Canada and wouldn’t be back in Ghana for my interview. I tried reaching out to the embassy several times, at least 5 times a day, but was unsuccessful. The couple times I did get through, the phone connection was terrible. I even bought Skype credits which I never thought I’d do, the hustle was real.

When I got back to Ghana, I thought the interviews were over and I couldn’t believe this opportunity just passed me by but I still wanted to try one more time to get in touch with the embassy, and this time around, a friend in Accra helped me get through and they right away invited me to the last batch of interviews in Takoradi. I had to get to Takoradi and prepare for the interview in less than 24 hours. I made the trip a couple of hours later, barely rested, went for the interview, completely exhausted, but for some reason, I was totally rejuvenated in energy when it was my turn. The interview went very well and I was excited about everything I said. It gave me hope about Ghana’s future and I knew it was genuinely coming from me and I was passionate about everything I said. I didn’t try to impress the panel, I was just myself, I answered the questions honestly, but, I did push hard to be more confident with delivery.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. The Fellowship provides 500 outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. higher education institution with support for professional development after they return home.

I was fortunate to have been chosen as a 2015 fellow and I am excited to share with you my experience during this life changing journey.The fellowship activities in the USA ended on the 6th of August.. Subscribe to my mailing list to be notified of more blog posts from my experience during the fellowship.

Cheers!

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One comment

  1. Yeah, definitely, the struggle is real.

    I was happy to hear you were selected to be a Mandela Washington Fellow, that is a big deal. I think you should share more on the activities that paved way for you to be chosen as a Fellow. That’d go a long way to inspire others to up their game and aim higher.

    Congrats Rasheeda, always proud of you.

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