Ph D student Djesika Amendah is studying Economics at Georgia State University. Getting there, was due to the influence of an instructor and a scholarship. “I come from Togo West Africa and when I was undergraduate in the local university my best professor, the one I really love and I thought the best teachers were educated in North America either the U.S or Canada,” she says. [and] I thought that I would follow in their footsteps and go where they were educated that is why at the beginning I was interested in the U.S and one of my professors came here with Fulbright and he told me about it and then I went to the American embassy and applied and then I was accepted.”
Djesika says a mix of emotions came over her, once she was accepted. “My first reaction was “Oh, I got it!” and I was very happy and then my second reaction was “Oh Lord, what is this exactly I’m getting into,” she says. “So I started researching the city because I applied to many schools. So when I was accepted to Georgia State I started to really look into Atlanta, the university, what programs they had and what I should expect.”
The field of Economics is not new to Djesika. She already has a master's degree in Economics and she was working as a research associate at the university back home before coming to Georgia State University. So it was only natural for her to pursue a Ph D in Economics.
So what is it that Djesika appreciates about the subject and her studies at Georgia State University? She says “What I appreciate very much about my studies here is that the policy aspect of it. I am in the school of policy studies and when I would do something in academic theory or whatever the subject is the teachers would always try to relate it to the policy aspect of it and say okay this being the theory, if you want this type of action or this type of reaction this is the type of policy you have to make and for me that makes it so relevant,” she says.
“It is not only theoretical, but it is also the practical aspect of Economic analysis.”
Going to college back home and now here in the U-S, Djesika says she realizes there are some things that are the same no matter where you receive an education. “First technology. I mean here you go to school and then the other thing would be you go and the material would be on the Internet and those are things that are unheard of in the university where I use to go to school,” she says.
“Let me go to something that is similar. How much it is valued to go to school, either here or in Togo. People are proud of you and when you say I am going to school, it is a good thing and that I think is something common in both places.”
One thing Djesika says is important to her along with receiving an education is being mindful that one must give back and help others. “Give back is definitely something that is on my mind all of the time because I feel that I have been privilege not to be not to be born where I was born, but to have been in college all of my life, to achieve my dreams and by my teachers when I came here I never met anybody who tried to discourage me from getting what I am after and for that I am grateful,” she says. “[and] I think I should give back to society because you see it may not go back to people who gave to me, but I may be able to help people who are coming and who are trying to follow the same way.”
The thirty-three year old will graduate in the summer of 2007. Following that, she says, I would like to do some research, applied research and then spending a year in post doctorate or something and then going home to West Africa.