Where the Journey Starts
The AAI Preparation Year supported by Ashinaga Senegal has three fundamental objectives for all students chosen for the program:
・Preparation for higher education
・Preparation for life abroad
・Development of leadership skills
These objectives are developed through Study and Preparation Camps, and continuous work between the two. Through this, we provide intensive academic and standardized test training, university application support, mentoring and career guidance, practical field-work experience, and cultural preparation for destination countries. Candidates are also introduced to the skills and qualities outlined in the AAI Leadership Framework, encouraging them to begin to reflect on the skills they have and those they wish to develop.
All of the students in our program are between 17 and 22 years of age, are from French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa, have lost one or both parents, have completed high school, and are committed to making a positive change in their community. They are selected based on their academic performance, their initiative and leadership activities, the difficulties they faced and how they overcame them and their future plans. Following the end of the Preparation Year, they have the opportunity to complete their studies in French, Japanese, or English and thus study in a number of different regions of the world.
The first step of the Preparation Year is the Ashinaga Senegal Study Camp that receives students from all over Francophone Africa. It lasts from four to six months depending on the students’ future language of study (French, English, or Japanese). This camp provides them with individual academic, professional and personal support, ensuring they have the necessary skills for success during their studies abroad. It focuses on academic preparation and orientation, university applications and capacity development.
After the Study Camp, Ashinaga Senegal organizes a Preparation Camp. The primary objective of this camp is to prepare them for the social, cultural, and academic differences they will encounter during their studies abroad, to accompany them in administrative procedures, and to continue strengthening their leadership skills. It is a much more experience-oriented and practical camp, and the last step of the Preparation Camp before students start their studies abroad.
During the Preparation Year, students are encouraged to develop their leadership skills, whether by volunteering, taking on responsibilities in the community or by undertaking larger autonomous projects. In 2018, for example, AAI students raised awareness on plastic pollution through presentations given in primary schools, clean-up days and a community-based event to identify solutions.