Earlier this year, we welcomed 38 young leaders, 24 men and 14 women, to our training center and dormitory to begin their gap-year program in Kigali. Over the next year, these students will improve their standardized test scores and English usage, apply to dozens of universities, meet employers (like Inyange Industries, pictured at left), participate in many service projects, hone their leadership skills, and grow together as a family.

Of the 38 new Scholars, 29 are from Rwanda, two are from Burundi, two are from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and five are from South Sudan.

Below, several members of the new class share their first impressions and expectations of the program!

“Before coming in the program I was nervous and worried about the people whom I was going to live with. I didn’t have an idea what it would look like. I am deeply impressed by the family aspect. Everyone in orientation team was welcoming me, hugging me and screaming my name out and that made me feel at home.”
—Tharcille, Rwanda

“When I came to Bridge2Rwanda, I only expected standardized-test courses and applications to colleges. But when I arrived, I learned that it was different. Yes, we do those things, but I found out that the program is much more that that. Community service, leadership classes and many opportunities, among others, are also part of the program.”
—Audley, Rwanda

“Here in Rwanda, and especially in the program, I don’t feel like an international. Everyone is nice. Teachers do not focus on our differences based on countries. They treat us equally and that makes us work together by focusing on what we share—which is what we are doing. I only remember my country during leadership classes. When we learn about outstanding leaders around the world I am always reminded that I have something to take back to my country.”
—Martime, Burundi

“Since we started the program, a lot of activities and events have been going on. Apart from regular classes, we participate in community service and we also do employer visits, which are quite exciting because I didn’t have that chance before joining Bridge2Rwanda.”
—Dudi, South Sudan

“I am excited about finishing this year and seeing myself as a helpful person. I want to be on the orientation team so that I can help my young brothers and sisters adjust to the program. In a few words, I just want to grow and be able to help others.”
—Didier, DR Congo