Where are you from?
I am from Nigeria
What was your childhood like?
I was born and raised in Lagos State, Nigeria. I came from a compound family and I am the last child of my mother. I had my elementary education to undergraduate level in Nigeria. The parental support and encouragement had been helping me to excel in my academics right from the kindergarten to the undergraduate level. In fact, emerging as the best graduating student of my department “Adult Education” in my undergraduate program gave me the opportunity to pursue my master’s program abroad. However, my educational pursuits have always been fun and interesting because I surrounded myself with people of positive mind and great ambitions.
What brought you to Cleveland?
I have come to Cleveland State to pursue my master’s degree program.
What were your first thoughts about coming to the United States? Did those change?
My thoughts are to get acquainted with my field of specialization which is “Adult Learning and Development” and to have a better understanding of how the program is planned and administered for a diverse population of adult learners in a variety of settings. Therefore, my plans have not changed.
What challenges did you face as transitioning here?
I faced a lot of challenges ranging from paying for an apartment, purchasing learning materials and other utility bills. In addition, while some people are friendly, some are very hostile which at times makes me feel unwanted here.
What is your occupation?
I am a student at Cleveland State University.
How have other Clevelanders made you feel welcomed?
Many of the Clevelanders I had met were wonderful people and full of fun to be with. I could remember my first day at Walmart to get some groceries. A middle-aged woman approached me with a smiling face. She asked of my country and how long I have been in the state. I replied I am from Nigeria and I had been in Cleveland State for just two weeks then. After the brief introduction, she asked me never to bother about paying the bills and she paid for my bill and offered me some words of encouragement that can keep me moving ahead in the state. It was indeed a memorable day for me. I also have a best friend here and we enjoy each other’s company.
What traditions or customs do you continue to practice?
Islam and at the same time promoting the culture of Africa.
What do you love about Cleveland?
Cleveland is a city that is endowed with many opening options for people to survive. It is not a city for the lazy people. If one is determined to make it, the city is ready to give you a full support to excel by connecting you with professionals in your chosen career.
Why is it so important to welcome immigrants and refugees?
It is very important to welcome immigrants and refugees wholeheartedly because it gives them a sense of belonging and makes them feel worthy of inclusion in the state physically, socially, morally, religiously, psychologically and culturally. In fact, welcoming them at its best will offer them more advantage to achieve their goals within the shortest possible time.
Why is it important to travel abroad?
Travelling abroad may be one of the most beneficial experiences for immigrants and refugees. For instance, as a college student in the United States pursuing my master’s program would give me the chance to see a side of my major “Adult Learning and Development” that I may not have been exposed to in Nigeria. In fact, it would be a wonderful opportunity for me to really experience and understand the people, their traditions and culture. It would also assist me to have a better understanding and appreciation of the nation’s people and history and to witness a completely new way of life as well.