Ashale Chi from Cameroon is part of the first cohort of MasterCard Foundation Scholars at Sciences Po. Ashale talked to us about her first months in the Europe-Africa programme on the Sciences Po campus in Reims and her healthy passion for helping others.
You started classes on the Reims campus in early September. What are your first impressions?
These first few months have been quite hectic. I have courses in French and English, and I'm taking French language classes as well. I like it because I'm really improving my level of French, but it's also hard because I have to learn over in French all the notions that I already mastered in English.
Overall, studying here requires a lot of rigor, a bit like the International Baccalaureate. I have an essay to do every week, required readings in almost every subject, and the lecturers also give us bibliographies to study the topics in more depth, so it's a lot of work. But the good news is that I'll be bilingual when I leave Sciences Po, so overall I'm adapting! Plus, the resources available to students are amazing and the students are very supportive of each other, so there is a lot of help on campus.
You're a volunteer at Cordées de la Réussite*. What do you like about this association?
I like volunteer work; I like helping others. It comes naturally to me so I don't have to make a particular effort. On the contrary, it does me good! Our relationship with the middle school students at Cordées de la Réussite is very friendly, it's a real relationship of trust. For example, we go to the movies with them, then at our Monday meetings we share our ideas about the film through creative workshops. We encourage them to talk about the film through their creative project. I really get a lot out of the relationship.
You were a volunteer for the Red Cross in Cameroon and you want to join the Red Cross in Reims. Where does this commitment come from?
Four years ago, there was an epidemic in Cameroon and my father fell ill. Finding treatment for him was very complicated and I realised just how outdated the organisation of healthcare is in Cameroon. There is a lot that needs to be done to ensure that if an epidemic hits, for example, the population is informed, treated and reassured. That was when I developed an interest in healthcare. I really want to be a part of developing the health system in Cameroon. Right now that is the type of meaningful career I'm aiming for after my studies.
* "Cordées de la réussite" aims to promote young people's access to higher education, whatever their socio-cultural background, by giving them the means and drive to get into top academic programme.