What is your name?

Olanrewaju Olatunji but am often called Lanre for short.

Did you grow up outside the US? If so, what was it like growing in your native country?

I am Nigerian, I grew up in Lagos which is the business center of Nigeria. Growing up in Lagos was fun and exciting, people are really nice and friendly. I found myself growing up in a very cultural setting where people hold certain values and beliefs in high regard. Respect was part of our daily lives, I had to greet anybody that was older than me in a certain way just to show respect. Regardless, I miss my city, it was always popping.

How did you decide to attend a university outside of your native country?

I never thought I was going to study abroad but as time went by I started considering the possibility. Initially I thought of studying in England but then I realized the States had more courses, Universities and that it was relatively cheaper to study in the U.S

What were your first thoughts about coming to The United States? Did those change?

I always thought the USA as a land flowing with milk and honey, I thought life was going to be real easy to make money once you are in the States and that one’s troubles were over. After a few weeks here that perception changed, I came to realize that it was my picture of the U.S is flawed. Just like everywhere else, you need money to survive.

Did you face any challenges transitioning to the U.S or to Cleveland?

One of the challenges I faced was the cold weather because I came during winter. The weather on average in Lagos is 80®F, it was a huge weather change for me. One other thing was the food, I am used to eating hot and spicy food back home but when I got here all the food tasted so sweet and I didn’t like it. I survived on Pizza and Asian food for the few weeks before I started getting used to the food around me.

Why is it so important to welcome immigrants and refugees?

Immigrants and Refugees leave their families and friends for one reason or the other to come to a country that is strange to them. They arrive to see a different culture and way of life, welcoming them would make them feel loved thereby aiding a smooth transition into their new found society.

Why is important to travel abroad?

We learn from our experiences, travelling is an avenue to learn other people’s values and culture. We should not be in a box, we all need to travel and experience the world beyond us.