E5: The Finale

“NNENNA’S DIARY”
EPISODE 5 “The Finale”

This is it! The finale of Nnenna’s Diary! We get to know today how her tough and long journey ends.

E4: No Place Like Home

“NNENNA’S DIARY”
EPISODE 4 “No Place Like Home”

Home is the place where the heart is, no matter where you are. Time is running out and Nnenna must decide whether she will make America her second home.

E3: Upside Down

“NNENNA’S DIARY”
EPISODE 3 “Upside Down”

After a one-month break of vlogging, Nnenna comes back to the scene with details of her life and new place. One problem down, and many more to go.

E2: The Struggle is Real

“NNENNA’S DIARY”
EPISODE 2 “THE STRUGGLE IS REAL”
Nnenna’s making progress, she has applied to two companies that sponsor, yet there’s more to it than just applying…

E1: “First Time Vlogger”

Nnenna, an international student, decides to vlog her post-graduation journey as she sorts out a mean to stay permanently in America.

NNENNA’S DIARY

So excited about this project ladies!!! A new web series “Nnenna’s diary” will be coming up soon on July 1st. It tells the story of an international student in America seeking to stay long term after graduation. However, the immigration system poses several challenges as well as pressures from back home. What will Nnenna do? Enjoy the trailer!

$$$MONEY$$$

International Student Edition

Money is on the mind of most international students. How do I pay for my tuition fees, rent, feeding, clothing, and other expenses? How do I financially support my family back home? For international students, unable to get a job on campus and unauthorized to work off campus, the struggle becomes real.

SSU of the Month: Nkebesse

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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!