Part 1: Being an International Student

N.B: This is a composite narrative of International students I dialoged with. I dedicate this  topic entry to the new students.

Dear international student,

You earned your diploma after twelve years of play and work, I say congratulations in concert with all the ancestors who: cried on your behalf when your eyes lacked tears to flow after many fails on that Chemistry examination, paid for your tuition even when you were rebellious to the womb that birthed you, adored HER when you were short with words to express your appreciation for that 4.0  the past two semesters of your high school career and comforts you during  those heart breaks when you couldn’t please everyone because you were too busy trying to make something out of your life. MashAllah (it is a beautiful thing) my dear, I hope you don’t forget where you come from, now that you think you have arrived, running away from that seemly god forsaken, abject poverty country of yours, lest you  neglect those who strived to make your life livable even in the midst of worldly worries.

In cohort with those who have: been there, done that, we saw it paramount to donate words that could nurture, encourage, and empower you as you move forward with your studies, international experience. The moment you carried that passport in your lovely hands, we want you to know that you robotically become an ambassador for your home country, yes! Do you recollect those times when you thought you were an entity who represent her/his ethnicity? Well, whether you like it or not, you are now the lens through which the entire world reads not only  you as a member of  Igbo, Yotti, Asante or Achakzai but also as the representative of your country and even the continent as a whole. It is up to you to make the best out of this new position you were forcibly located to occupy.

Yay! You thought the freedom to be away from extreme critical gaze would give you access to do as you pleased! After all they say the world out there is free, a place where you could, “do you” and majority of the time, no one gives a damn, it is all about you, you, you and you, the god of individual and neo-liberalism resides there, you are your own god. Your life is in your hands. Little you were informed that: many more hardship awaits you.

Culturally in  your home, you were raised to believe all human beings were created by HER perfect hands, even though you noticed Lee’s tiny eyes, Zulu’ muscular frame, Sarah’s pile  sun-less  complexion, Monique’s large buttocks, and Mike’s unintelligent remarks when asked a simple question. You were convinced that human beings were all created equally, sadly you had to learn the hard way when you actaully encountered people who are different from you, one of our veteran expressed to me. “I was denied a job after my African identity was revealed, and the racism I experienced was so blunt that, some people told me that  Blacks  are dirty and very stupid.”

©CopyRight, Yoknyam Dabale

11 thoughts on “Part 1: Being an International Student

  1. Yoknyam, I love your writing! And thank you so much for writing on this topic- it seems the administration and the student leadership are always talking about students with stories like this and how when this study comes out they are going to DO something about it, but then no one ever seems to ask the students about it 😦

    Impatiently awaiting the next installment 🙂

    • Hello Irene,

      thanks much for your thoughtful supporting comment, I need people like you to keep this project going, I did not get back to the lastest entry because I have been dealing with other pressing matters, however, I am committed to having two entries on this blog each Month.

      You are right in most cases international students feel under represented, I had the honor to speak out the past 8 years of my college career in the U.S but only now that I had the revalation to actually write it out perhaps this blog could be a venue in which women, international students would feel at home, knowing that someone shares their narrative in a very profound manner.

      I look forward to sharing the next part in few days since I am working on it as we speak. Until then take very good care of yourself and I look forward to learning with and from you.

      sisterly love,


  2. Hi, greetings from Nigeria first of all I want to appreciate you for the wonderful things I read I’m proud of you. keep it up.

    • Greetings my brother,

      thank you much for reading and appreciating my work. I am trying to look at life as it is critically in a positive and honest light with my work so to pass the baton to the generation behind.

      Peace Unto you,


  3. What do we expect?

    Do Africans or black people even treat each other with respect? Do we help each other out?

    It’s funny that we start uniting once we are outside Africa because we are seen as black and lumped together

    When we get back to our respective countries and tribespeople, we continue business as usual…

    Nobody will ever respect us until we start respecting ourselves and stop handing over our hard-earned money to whites and foreigners only so they can disrespect us…

    Africa has everything to dominate this world but we rather run to whites and the west each time for help and investment…

    In the coming centuries, I bet Africans will still be running abroad to the west and nothing will have changed…

    If we are so bothered about how we are treated, we need to start working together instead of attacking and working against each other to impress white people and foreigners…

  4. Hi! you are wounderfull,I have started couping in some ways when I read some of your work. For me being a domestic student.though some times I feel being isolated because nobody to counsil me.some of your words give me courage.I realy appreciate your effort and pray that wil nt forsake you.

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