SSU of the Month: Nkebesse


Racism as an International Student

Sisters, meet Nkebesse, a former SSU. Originally from Central Africa, Kebele was an international student in Kenya, Canada, and America. Today, we talk about experiencing racism in the foreign countries she studied in and how she dealt with it.

How did you pick the countries where you’re studied in?
Kenya was picked by my father, we went there as a family so I had no say in that. For Canada, I had friends that were studying there and liked the place, so I was convinced. My family and I picked America because I love the country (I was there before) and the program I wanted to continue in was more developed in the States than Canada, so I went there.

What were your first impressions of the people in those countries?
Well, let me just say that my opinion does not generalize the entire citizens of those nations. I will just speak in terms of the people I got in contact with.
Kenya: Personally, I thought that Kenyans in the capital city were not too welcoming, it’s funny I’m as African as they are but everywhere I went, especially when I took public transportation, I always got “the stare”. That made me so uncomfortable, I mean I’m not white, I’m just brown-skinned and so why were people looking at me so differently? I was later on told that “the stare” was because people knew that I was foreign. That did not make sense to me at all. Another thing, when talking to Kenyans, they always made me feel like I was not their own, even though we shared the same continent. So, it was just not pleasant. On the other hand, when I visited other cities, I noticed that the people there were happy to see a foreign woman and I never got “the stare”. They treated me well.
Canada: Canadians, I would say are very reserved. They are probably in between, they are neither welcoming nor hostile, they’re just in between. They’re neither friendly nor enemies, just in between.
America: I saw a great difference in America, the people are very friendly and welcoming, they will talk to a stranger as if they were talking to an old friend, they will just go on and on. Americans are willing to help you out no matter the condition you’re in, they are so open that it’s unbelievable. However, I realized that when it comes to money, don’t mess with an American’s pocket, because  they will show you a different face. But overall, they set the difference for me.

What was your experience as a Black woman in those countries?
Kenya: In Kenya (in the capital city), being a foreign woman, as stated earlier, I got a lot of stares and the people just made me realized how “foreign” I was.
Canada & America: I didn’t feel any difference in Canada as a Black woman because Blacks are part of the society and the Black immigration rate is high.

How was your first racial experience like? Your reaction?
Let me say this, on a normal day, when someone of a different race is hostile to me, I don’t automatically associate that with racism. I always think that the person is either having a bad day, is naturally mean, or has had bad experiences with Blacks, that’s why he has set guards. I don’t think much about racism because I think this is just a way for the media and politics to divide people.
Kenya: At my school, I often had a lot of Western teachers who were bluntly saying negative things about Africans or treated Black students differently than White ones; hence, it was plainly an evidence of racism. My friends and I were very angry at their attitudes, but who could we report them to when the principal himself was a Westerner? I used to pray a lot that the Lord would touch their heart and He eventually did. Sometimes during the yearly parent-teacher session, my mother would address the issue to the teachers who were embarrassed and later repented.
Canada and America: Not that I remember of, again I could have faced it but I probably did not take it as racism because I didn’t see it as an obvious act. Maybe once in America, a White guy made a statement about how he preferred light-skinned Black women as opposed to dark ones, but I didn’t take it to heart, I knew he was just ignorant and I let him be.

How could you tell that someone was being racist to you as opposed to just being mean?
As mentioned earlier, I never treat people as racist on any given day. Unless, you boldly make a racist comment or treat me differently than the next person who is of different race, then I will be obliged to associate your behavior with racism.

What lessons did you learn as a Black woman?
I never see myself as a ‘Black’ woman, I always see myself as a woman created and loved by God just like any other woman. God has gifted me with the same potentials like any other woman. So, there’s no lesson to learn as a ‘Black’ person but in everything, I learn lessons as a child of God and as a woman; always striving to be better and challenge myself.

Any advice for international SSU?
Before going to a country, please, please, learn in depth about the culture, values, and beliefs of the people. I have seen many international students having a vague idea about a country and once there, they experienced great harassment from the people who were very hostile to foreigners. If you are already in a country where there is great racism, move to a different and better one if possible. Otherwise if not possible, pray, pray, and pray. Rebuke the spirits of racism that are on the constant attack of foreigners. Pray for protection and continued strength. Stand firm in the Lord and reciprocate love with hatred.

I Am Free! I Can Do Whatever I Want!

International Student Edition

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 8.09.49 PMImage: iStock

I realized this one thing when I became an international student in Canada: I.Am.Free!!! I can do whatever I want and no one is watching me! My family is far away and nobody here cares about what I do or don’t do! I can pretend to be the good daughter on the phone with my parents; I can lie however I want because they have no way to verify the information. I am free!!! I can follow the popular trends on campus, go out with friends all night, who cares? I am free!!!

I praise the Lord that this was just a realization and not my reality. These thoughts crossed my mind so many times, but I praise the Lord that I chose another path. Though I had the freedom and space to do whatever pleased my heart, I opted to discipline myself. I had a specific time to be back at the dorm on the weekends, I made sure to study the Word of God daily, I took one day a week to simply relax, I avoided university parties, and etc. At times I wondered why? Why am I disciplining myself rather than living out the vibrant university life? I remember that a few of my friends used to mock me saying that my life was nothing but boring, that I was in short ‘lifeless’. I didn’t want to do whatever, whenever, and with whoever due to my relationship with God and my determination to stay pure. My Christianity has never been for the sake of my parents or church; I believe and serve God for who He is and what He has done in me. Hence, it was and is still important for me to walk in communion with God. Even if I chose to lie to my parents about my lifestyle choices, God was there to see everything; how could I then face Him during my prayer time? I really cared about what He thinks of me, that is why by the grace of God I didn’t just do anything and everything. One of the reasons why many international students abandon the way of God in university is because their faith was never a personal affair but a familial or traditional one. Consequently, it’s easy to digress.

1 Corinthians 10:23 “ ‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is edifying.”

I was determined to stay pure as I didn’t want to be involved in destructive choices. The freedom is there on campus to do whatever, yet are all things constructive? I could have attended the weekly pub night on campus but what would I have gained in that? Time with friends coupled with exposure to alcohol, promiscuity, and the like. Being pure didn’t mean that I locked myself in the room except for class time, on the contrary, it simply meant that I carefully selected my activities to ensure no conflict with my purity goal. Purity was essential for me because I wanted to have a clean conscience both spiritually and physically; I didn’t want to be meddled with choices that would slowly lead me away from God, get me intimate with a man before marriage, or just damage my body as a whole. I just wanted to be pure.

Who was watching me anyways as an international student? No one. I could do whatever, wherever, with whoever but with the power of the Lord, I made the conscious decision not to in order to preserve my relationship with my Heavenly Father and stay pure. Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial, everything is permissible but not everything is edifying.

In Style with the Crowd

International Student Edition

It’s a new country with new people who talk, dress, behave, and live differently than you, an international student. You want to identify with your new mates by changing your accent, dressing like them, taking on their habits, etc.There is nothing wrong with imitating their ways, just as long as it does not oppose the Word of God. International students, in majority, are eager to immerse in their new culture (which is totally fine); nonetheless, there is always a need for discernment, as Exodus 23:2 says “You shall not follow the multitude to do evil”. In the process of ‘becoming one’ like the host countrymen, ask yourself if there are any areas threatening your faith. How is your new way of talking? Are you cussing, insulting, mocking, or lying like your new mates? How is your new fashion sense? Are you revealing private areas, wearing tight-fitting outfits, or maybe neglecting your body (which is God’s temple) like your new mates? Are you now clubbing or pushing God to the side like the popular campus trend?

International student ladies, you must to be sober and vigilant, and not follow the multitude to.sin. You need to meditate on the Word of God as to have a clear mind on what is and is not sin. Otherwise, if you don’t grow in your knowledge of God, then you will easily be deceived on campus to start calling ‘right’, ‘wrong’, and ‘wrong’,’right’. Let’s glorify our Father in all we say and do!

Career Search Advice

International Student Edition

One main concern of international students is how to secure a good career after graduation. Based on the American system, I give advice on how international students can get a job.
Topics Covered:
-Getting ready to apply 00:48
-Applying for jobs 03:09
-Interview 20:21
-You got the job! 24:00

“How to Answer Job Interview Questions” article:

Disappointment: When God Doesn’t Answer

SSU Special Edition: Life After Graduation

It’s been a year, two, or three since you graduated and you’re not happy with the level you’re at right now. You don’t have your dream job, dream salary, still living at home, or maybe you’re still not married. Consequently, you’re disappointed in God; despite the prayers and fasting, He’s not doing anything…

Let’s talk it out today.

SSU of the Month: Franchelle

SSU Special Edition: Life After Graduation
“What is my Life Purpose?”

image: Single Sisters in University

Sisters, meet Franchelle, a former SSU and Law graduate!
Usually after graduation, it is that time when we seek for a life purpose. In university, we had one goal: Graduate. Now that this is done, then what? How do we find God’s purpose for our life? What are we supposed to be in life? Is there a higher calling than just having a regular job? This is what our conversation with Franchelle is about today. Continue reading “SSU of the Month: Franchelle”

Should You Get a Second Bachelor’s Degree or Go for a Masters’ Degree?

By Jon Fortenbury
Image: City University of Seattle

SSU Special Edition: Life After Graduation

Whether you want to change fields, be a more well-rounded job candidate or just learn something new, deciding between a second bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree is not always easy. While there doesn’t seem to be one overarching correct answer binding everyone who considers the question, that doesn’t mean an answer doesn’t exist at all…Read more

Can’t Land Your Dream Job Yet? Show Some Humility

SSU Special Edition: Life After Graduation


The common expectation of a student is to land his/her dream job right after graduation, however, in the real world, things don’t always turn out this way. These days, competition to enter the workforce has become fiercer and companies are more interested in experience years than academic ones. Additionally, without good ‘connections’ in certain workplaces, the process of hiring can be tough. Despite the many factors standing in your way to getting your dream job, do not grow depressed but accept this truth and show humility by temporarily settling for something else. Continue reading “Can’t Land Your Dream Job Yet? Show Some Humility”

Life After Graduation Chat

SSU Special Edition: Life After Graduation

Hi ladies, I’m chatting today with Mariya, my former classmate and good friend, on  post-graduation life . Here are the questions we’re covering:
-Do graduates end up getting jobs in their field of study?  01:13
-How do I know if I should do a second degree, Master’s degree, or enter the workforce?   09:58
-How has life changed after graduation?  16:04
-How do classmate relationships change after graduation?   20:54
-What happens to the expectations of getting the dream job, the marriage, and the children after graduation?   28:40
-Any word of advice?  35:44

11 Tips On How To Balance School, Work And Family

By Tara

SSU Mom Special Edition

Image: Pinterest

#9 Bring your kids on campus with you. Let them see the inside of the buildings, where you have classes, let them meet your professors. If you attend a suburban campus like I do, let them run around in the grass. They think it’s a big park and a big park = fun. When your kids know where you’re going, it makes it much more real for the both of you…Read more