News / Africa

South Sudanese in US Face Culture Gap

June is a big month for graduations in the US, where many South Sudanese are pursuing education -- but not necessarily familiesJune is a big month for graduations in the US, where many South Sudanese are pursuing education -- but not necessarily families
x
June is a big month for graduations in the US, where many South Sudanese are pursuing education -- but not necessarily families
June is a big month for graduations in the US, where many South Sudanese are pursuing education -- but not necessarily families
Kelly J. Kelly
Rose Lokwang was one student who proudly accepted a degree in biology and anthropology from Colorado University at Boulder this spring. Now she’s thinking about going to medical school.

In the meantime, she is staying in the western United States and sharing a house with a female friend. She says if she had remained in South Sudan, her life would probably look more like her peers' lives -- married with kids.

“One of the things I heard back from going to medical school is that, I’m 26 now, how many more years am I going to go? Am I going to have a family, or get married?"

Lokwang says she frankly doesn’t know how to answer those questions. She says relations between men and women are different when a woman has an education. On the one hand, she says she likes being able to say more to men than “yes” and “I’m sorry.”

“Now I can defend my own opinion. If I know something is wrong. I can say it’s wrong because of 1-2-3. Not arguing or fighting, but at least trying to say what you feel.”

But on the other hand, she says some men worry that educated women don’t need them.

“They think men are always supposed to provide for everything. But once they see a woman who is educated, they think they can kick [a man] out of the house at any time. They are scared,” Lokwang says.

What Lokwang hopes for is respect. She wants to go back to South Sudan and help pregnant women deliver their babies safely. Her education, she says, might make people listen to her advice.

Mario Bol, for one, thinks Lokwang’s independence is a positive. Bol is a 37-year-old graduate student who’s been living in the United States for over a decade. He’s not married either. He says at home, women are seen as property.

“Once they get married you will have to pay dowry, so that makes it very difficult for the girls to exercise their independence. But in the United States, they’re free to do anything they want. If you want to get married, that’s fine. But compared to the ones at home, the ones in the U.S. are free.”

But Benjamin Macar, who is also a single graduate student living in Washington, D.C., cautions against thinking there are no rules here. He points out that laws and society limit people’s freedom, even in the United States, and that there are strengths and weaknesses in every culture.

“Family is very important [in South Sudan]. And there are things when we are here, we do not like them. Especially the divorce rate.”

Macar says broken families are one of the biggest concerns of the South Sudanese community in the United States. And he points out that preserving one’s family—even while pursuing an education and adapting to life in a new country—is an issue for both women and men.

South Sudanese in US Face Culture Gap
South Sudanese in US Face Culture Gapi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid