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Howard University Has Family Ties For Jamaican Student

Coming from a family of Howard University graduates, Ann-Merita Golding knew that was the place for her to go to college. “I’m from Kingston, Jamaica born and raised all of my life. I decided to come to Howard because my sister came here and lots of my older cousins so Howard was well known in my family and the only other option was doing University in Jamaica that is the University of the West Indies, but I wanted to do hospitality management which they do there, but it is not the best school for that major,” she says. “The University of the West Indies is more known for medicine and law and probably business, but I still was a little undecided at the same time,” she adds. “When I came here I switched my major the first week I came here from hospitality management to Speech Language Pathology which I never knew about until I came to Howard so it worked out in my favor.”

Ann-Merita is majoring in Speech Pathology at Howard University. She says although she didn't know anything about the field, going to class and having instructors that engage her in learning has been a positive experience for her. “Well being a Speech Language Pathology major, I never knew anything about it before I came to Howard. When I came here I saw that they had that major I read more about it and became really interested in it,” she says. “The classes are really small. I don’t think it is a major that is really popular here, but I don’t mind that because I get to have personal relationship with my teachers where I can go and talk with them, but I guess you can do that in any class, but the classes are a lot smaller when it to the speech language pathology majors and I enjoy it,” she says. “The classes aren’t I would say difficult. The teachers are prepared and they are there to assist us anytime, anytime we need them. I can say for most teachers.”

Being an international student, Ann-Merita says it is important to her to broaden her circle of friends and not just associate with other international students. “I enjoy meeting and talking with everyone at Howard however, I find that most Caribbean students tend to stick together or I shouldn’t just say Caribbean, but international. Most international students naturally I guess stick together and you might even say cliché’ up,” she says. “I tend to want to mix and mingle with everyone. I have friends from all different states in America and I also have friends from the Caribbean and also Africa,” she adds. “I appreciate getting to know everyone as a matter of fact most of my close friends tend to either be from the mid-west or down south, but they enjoy learning about my culture and I enjoy learning about their own.”

Coming from the island country where rum, sun and reggae is a plenty, Ann-Merita says there are a few stereotypes that many American's may believe but just aren't true. “One of the biggest stereotypes is that all Jamaicans are Rasta’s and the fact that we all smoke ganja. It is not a fact,” she says. “ It is actually one of the biggest stereotypes. I never have smoked ganja in my life ever. In the twenty-one years that I have been alive and a lot of Americans are surprised by that because they think you know all Jamaicans do these things on a daily basis. They think we party a lot and that life is just easy going and we have nothing to worry about which is not true,” she says. “Jamaica is a fantastic country. I love it and I can’t wait to go back there to live. We have our economic problems and problems with crime but Jamaicans find a way to do what they are doing and to make a living and be happy at the same time,” she adds. “We have a lot of problems, but at the end of the day we are a happy people and we love our country very, very much.”

Ann-Merita Golding has two more years left at Howard University before she graduates and one thing is for sure...when she finishes....”I want to go back home. I am looking forward to going back to Jamaica, hopefully getting some work experience there, but eventually coming back to do my graduate degree and eventually I want to do my Ph.D.”