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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid