Monday, November 16, 2015

Q&A: Nigerian Student Overcomes Challenges, Excels in U.S.

To kick off International Education Week 2015, we've interviewed an international student about her experience in the United States. Oluwaseyi Oni, of Nigeria, is a graduate student at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta.

What has been your greatest challenge as an international student? What steps did you take to overcome that challenge?

There are myriad opportunities in the United States, but non-citizens can only enjoy some of them. There are more hurdles when it comes to finding competitive jobs and scholarships for international students. As a graduate student interested in research, I had to do a lot of patient searching to find an opportunity that fit my goals and interests. In addition, I applied for a scholarship from my home country before coming here.

What was the greatest cultural difference between your home country and the U.S.?

In Nigeria, age is seen as something very important, and younger people are expected to show deference to older people. Even a difference of a year between two people is considered significant in certain instances. Furthermore, greeting people who are older than you whenever you enter a place is deemed mandatory etiquette. In the United States, people of all age groups are for the most part considered equal. For instance, the way children address their parents (and even sometimes talk back at them) here would be considered highly disrespectful in Nigeria.

What are you studying? Why did you choose that specific major/concentration?

I’m getting a Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Management. I want to explore the complex factors at play in health care systems and develop relevant skills in health care research and management. Public health has a zoomed-out approach compared to clinical medicine; merging my medical career with public health will give it an extra angle and multiply the impact I can make in people’s lives and society in general.

What advice would you give international students who are working on their English speaking skills in the U.S.?

International students need to practice speaking English every day. The more you practice, the better you get. Even though it’s easier to speak your native language with people from your ethnic group, it's important to go out of your way to speak English with native speakers.

Why did you choose to study at Emory University in Atlanta?

First, I spoke with an alumnus about his experience at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. He gave me practical reasons why it was the right fit for my goals and interests. Additionally, the faculty, staff, and students are warm, friendly, and very helpful. I think some schools overlook the fact that many people would choose a warm and friendly environment over a stuck-up or hostile school no matter how highly ranked it may be. The Rollins School of Public Health has proven to be even better than I expected. I am glad I chose Emory, and I have absolutely no regrets!

Oluwaseyi Oni, of Nigeria, is a graduate student at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta.

1 comment:

  1. So proud of you my sister!Wish you all the very best


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