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Cannelle Marican

Cannelle Marican

Student Support Team, Ashinaga HQ

While I was studying at my university in Paris in 2014, a chain of random events brought me to discover Ashinaga.

While I was on campus one day, I heard that one of my teachers had cancelled his class and I had a 2h gap before the next one. As I was about to head to the cafeteria for a break, I passed in front of the career office and remembered I needed to look for an internship for the summer. The lady working there welcomed me, but quickly informed me there were very few opportunities for students studying Japanese. While we were chatting, a little sound from her inbox suddenly resonated and after taking a look at it, she told me there was an internship offer in an organisation called “Ashinaga” that could interest me. The first thing I did when I arrived home was to write my CV and my cover letter. After an interview, I was then selected as an intern for the 2014 summer, and entered Ashinaga for the first time. My experience then would be hard to describe, it was a mixture of understanding how I could become useful to other people, meeting incredible people everyday, but especially being so inspired by Tamai’s dedication. Ashinaga’s mission is something I felt passionate about, and wanted to be part of.

Eventually, when I was asked “would you like to work for our new office in Senegal?”, I didn’t need to think about it, it was all decided. It has been more than 5 years now, I mentally thank my teacher for cancelling his class on that specific day, and haven’t regretted anything.

When I first entered Ashinaga as a staff, it was to create the first Study Camp in Ashinaga Senegal.
It was the beginning of the Ashinaga Africa Initiative and I and a couple of other staff members were in charge of this new francophone office at the most western point of Africa. The task was huge, in a month time, we had to equip the dormitory for the students and interns, create a curriculum, work on legal registrations and make sure everyone would arrive in a safe and welcoming environment.

Steps by steps, things started to fall into place. During my time in Dakar, I saw so many students pass by the Ashinaga Senegal office, and each one of them has taught me many meaningful lessons. In the sector of education and leadership, the possibilities to improve a program are infinite and although the work seemed to never end, our students’ strength and motivation were providing me energy every day. It was always a pleasure going to work and being surrounded by dedicated staff members and hard-working students.
After 3 years in Ashinaga Senegal, I decided I wanted to participate more in our students’ adventure when they were studying at university and transferred to the Ashinaga France office. The experience there taught me a lot about how we could support our Scholars during their studies, and how our own work could be tailored to adapt to each of their needs.

After my time in Ashinaga Senegal and France, I decided to come to work at our headquarters in Japan in 2019. Working in Ashinaga Japan has been exactly what I had envisioned, the Student Relations Team I am in is the bridge between Ashinaga and the AAI Scholars and supports their leadership general evolution. It involves so many different tasks that I haven’t been bored for a single day. There are a lot of possibilities for leadership development here, and it gives a great feeling to be able to participate in our Scholars growth from this side of the world as well. The team I work in is very multicultural (with our backgrounds, we cover the 5 continents), professional and everyone is always brainstorming on how can we ensure our Scholars will be equipped with the right tools to participate in Africa’s general development.

In addition to supporting Scholars’ general leadership evolution, I also have the chance to be the SRT Global Coordinator, and coordinate general communication between the Student Relations Coordinator in Ashinaga’s regional offices, as well as with other departments’ involvement with our Scholars. This dual responsibility allows me to work on global perspectives and projects, while still being connected with my Scholars and directly witness the impact of our work.

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