For any international student considering Eastern Kentucky University as a choice for studying in the U-S, Steve Maina has this to say about the university. "Eastern Kentucky is an opportunity school. It's gives everybody an opportunity to be whatever she or he wants to be. I believe its one of the best schools in Kentucky although we have Louisville of Kentucky, I do believe because of the population of the student and the ratio of the student and the teachers this would be a very very good school to be if you want to have that one on one student teacher relationship."
Eastern Kentucky University is approximately twenty-three miles south of Lexington, Kentucky. During his undergraduate years, he was interested in the aviation field, but one of his professors told him to consider economics instead. "Well, when I got here I was registered as an aviation major which I did for one year. It was too expensive plus I didn't have enough money. I do not come from a wealthy family," he says. "I couldn't handle that so I took an economics class over the summer and I think one of the professors really made me feel like economics was the thing. I have a feeling of helping needy people given that my country is one of the sub-sahara African countries and that feeling of wanting to help other people kind of drove me into it."
Steve is from Kenya. Having received his undergraduate degree there, Steve decided to pursue a graduate degree as well. "It's really awesome. I like it so far. I mean I been here for seven years. I am doing a master's of business administration and I initially did economics, international economics as my undergraduate with a minor in business administration," he says. "I've been to the University of Texas of Arlington. I went there for one year for my master's degree, kind of a huge population. I didn't like it that much. I think because I have been at Eastern Kentucky for a long time it seems like home away from home."
He is also a graduate assistant so in turn the university pays for his education. "I work for the school and they do pay for my tuition. That's how it works. I am a graduate assistant so I don't have to pay anything out of my pocket, but I have to get something to keep up with my bills,"he says.
"For fun I do run track. As a matter of fact I'm a volunteer coach with the cross country team. I also work with the compliance office which overseas all of their athletic department and actually I am working right now with the junior and junior varsity office, at the same time I do run with the team just to keep fit."
Steve says it is important that when his fellow countrymen want to know about studying in America, he will give his honest opinion. "One thing, one thing we do have is the brain drain. You know once you come here to the United States, you do not feel like going home," he says. "As a matter of fact, if you live here that long, you kind of feel like this is the only home you know and you don't feel like going home that's one thing," he says.
"The second thing, things have change now. If you come here to the United States, I will tell them to be ready to do education all the way to the doctorate program because I don't believe an undergraduate or a master's degree will help now. Plus, it's hard to tell people not to come here when you are down already for education because when you come and you meet certain group of people you just go off track," he says. "Some people drop out of school. It is very expensive if you don't have a scholarship you know. If you don't have a scholarship please stay home and attend local college because otherwise you are going to come here and drop out of school. So my advice would be to talk to the people who are here, hopefully they will tell you the truth beacuse in most cases people do not tell you the truth and that is one of the things we as international students are failing our fellow countrymen."
Graduation for Steve is in May then, "My aim is to get into a doctorate program into economics. I will probably help other people in Africa or other countries. That will be my dream job."