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.”
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