For Emake Ugiomoh, it started as a dream to come to the United States. His dream is now a reality. I’m from Edo state in Nigeria which is in the middle belt, but I have lived in the southwest all of my life in Lagos state and I decided to come to the United States to study just as a dream it is always something that I have always wanted to do as a kid just go to the United States and study to become a doctor,” he says.
“I attend Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma.The decision was basically made I think I kind of prayed one night and I just chose Cameron as a school and so far it has been the best choice I’ve made in a long time and I study Biology over here at Cameron.”
When Emake first came to Cameron University, he wasn't sure of what to think of his new environment, but he soon found out.“It’s a good community because you get to meet a lot of people depending on how you are if you are outgoing it is just more than a school," he says". It is like a family thing because you know somebody that knows somebody that knows somebody and it’s just a big network in this small environment it’s one thing that I really like about Cameron University and it’s a very hospitable environment to stay in, “he says.
“I did not know what to expect when I came, but shortly Cameron really beat my expectations because I was thinking I wasn’t going to be accepted, like I thought I was going to be very different and it was going to be a problem to blend in but that was not a problem and I actually thought you know getting involved with school activities would be a difficult thing because the way things are done here obviously is way different than the way things are done at home, but it wasn’t a problem I’ve been in various clubs and organizations here on campus,” he says.
I’m an Aggie ambassador which is an orientation team. We help new students go through a phase of orientation when they come in. Recently, I started working with housing as an Resident Assistant (RA) which is a very big opportunity to be an RA so basically I’ve been able to get involved with some many campus activities and I get to meet a lot of people here on campus.”
Emake says being educated is a cultural right of a passage in his country.“Basically, it is a cultural thing back home to be well educated like if you are not educated you don’t really have a voice in my community. It’s just a Nigerian thing.You have to be educated. It’s something. It’s like prestige. It is the only thing to have basically back home before you can have a voice, so one it is very good to have a good education. Two, it’s basically very important to have a good education and it’s just like you know it’s on the top of everybody’s list. And the minimum requirements for you to have a good job back home.”
One of the biggest adjustments for Emake is dealing with the weather, but that's not all.“I came in August, but it was hot in August so I don’t understand why I kept catching a cold. Maybe because of all the air conditioning in all of the building and stuff, it was just way cold,” he says. “So every time I walked into a building it was very, very cold so I basically wore a warm jacket like throughout the rest of the summer then the cold that came in the winter that was one big adjustment kind of getting adjusted to the cold and the prevailing changes in weather here in Lawton.
Lawton has a very unstable kind of weather condition, but for me it has become fascinating because I say 'Wow what a wonder', I mean Lawton has temperatures that go hotter than Nigeria in one day and then drop way lower than it could ever be in Nigeria, and so I say this is just fascinating. On one side of the world and the weather is just reminding you of home so that was one fascinating thing and one adjustment then another one was basically the educational system here.
Everything has a different structure than the way school is done back home in Nigeria, he says. It’s just very different. We have a more difficult kind of educational system where the instructors are very very strict. I mean they have very strict policies. A large percentage makes sure you get a very tough school system, although it makes you better at the end, but here the flexibility that you have here makes it very fun.”
When Emake graduates in 2012, he says going to medical school is the next step. “I want to work more in the field of Biology and just get more experience while I apply to medical school. I will definitely go home and work a little and do some hands on work at home. I don’t know if it is going to be missions or if it is going to be health care work while my application is in medical school and basically when I get accepted I will be back to continue studying medicine, but I want to take a little break like six months or something so I can do something else and I can stay with my family and catch up and spend a lot more time with them before I go to medical school.