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 Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora