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The University of Mississippi Gives Nigerian Student Tools To Excel


Jennifer Salu is in the United States because of her father wanting to make sure that she received a good education. “I’m from Laos, Nigeria. I came to the United States because my dad left three years ago to come over here because the country’s economy was very bad and he wanted us to have a good education and there was no way we could have that in Nigeria,” she says. “So the University of Mississippi was chosen not by me, but by my dad because he was based in Mississippi and the reason why he came to Mississippi was because he had relatives here and he had to come to a place where he had relatives that he could rely on for a little while before he struck out on his on,”she says.

Jennifer goes on to say why Journalism is the major she choose. “The University of Mississippi is a very nice school and my major is Journalism. Actually, I wanted to study Law, but law is a second degree here like a masters program here so I had to choose a different major before I started law. So I chose Journalism simply because it had the element of writing. I could have chosen English, but I didn’t want that. I choose Journalism and then Sociology because I felt they were similar in a way in the fact that they dealt with humans and social interaction and all that stuff.”

Studying Journalism Jennifer says has given her more confidence in herself and has helped her open up and communicate with other colleagues. However, she says the biggest thing about going to college here is she doesn't have to be afraid of not being able to finish her education due to faculty strikes or economic woes. “The first thing is I can have uninterrupted education in the sense that in Nigeria I use to go to a college back home and the fear of every student there was ‘Are we going to finish our education on time’ because usually it was always interrupted by lecturers striking because they were not paid there full amount of money or students who were not happy with the way the school was run so basically if you got admissions into a university in Nigeria you had to pray because you wonder how long you were going to be there,” she says. “A four year program could run up to eight years with strikes so that is the first thing I like about schooling here in the United States.

Second thing is loans because in Nigeria everybody pays everything themselves,” she adds. “Over here you are fortunate to get loans to pay your school fees so you don’t have to worry about are you going to continue school or not. That is a very good factor here.” “Other thing is just the economy. I have a better chance of making it over here in the United States than if I was back home because in Nigeria there are millions and millions and millions of other students like me going to law school and millions of lawyers there do not have jobs. They have to settle for mundane jobs back home in Nigeria just to make ends meet,” she says. “My father told me just get good grades and you will be employed almost immediately so that is a major factor here because over here everything is based on merit so that is a major advantage of schooling here.”

There is also time in Jennifer schedule to participate in a few campus activities. “I am a member of the African Caribbean Association of the University of Mississippi and a major thing about that is we had our first Caribbean night and the planning of the African Caribbean night sort of brought us all together because before we were like ‘I’m from Nigeria, you are from Togo, he is from Ghana,’ but we had to be united to plan together so that brought us all closer,” she says. “There are no boundaries now. We see ourselves as Africans. Even the Caribbean students see themselves as Caribbean’s," she says.

"I am also involved in the African dance ensemble at the University of Mississippi and at first I didn’t want to join because I am usually very skeptical about anything African, but coming over here to the United States has made me appreciate being African and everything it stands for,” she says. “Now I don’t just randomly say I am African now I think of it and it makes me proud to be African basically. I was also a member of the editorial board of the Daily Mississippian which was a daily newspaper and it was fun because I got to see other students and hear their views about certain issues and debate about them and all that stuff.”

Jennifer Salu has one more year at the University of Mississippi before she graduates. Once she receives her degree in Journalism she wants to do an internship here in the United States and then eventually enroll in Law school.

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