Alma College prides itself on being an institution that harbors diversity and inclusivity. One way in which the college does this is through its emphasis on recruiting international students.
One international student who is excited about the opportunity to study in the United States is Akwasi Asare (‘27), a neuroscience and computer science double major from Ghana.
“[The] United States has been the melting pot of knowledge in the 21st century. They say if you want to become the best align yourself with the best, and I realized that for what I want to do the United States is the best when it comes to anything medicine or medical; that’s what brought me to study here in the United States,” said Asare.
“We don’t have enough neurosurgeons in my country. In fact, there’s no Black neurosurgeon in my country. There are people who are doing everything neuroscience, but they are all White. So, I want to become a neurosurgeon and then… inspire others– I feel blessed that this is possible,” said Asare.
For Asare, coming to America has been a culture shock. Many things are different from what he is accustomed to in Ghana and every day he finds something new to marvel at.
“[Everything] is big for me. For Alma College– this campus and the[se] facilities– to appear in my country [would be] a miracle… The campus is nice, and the education also is of quality,” said Asare.
“[The] system is working. It’s only for me to subscribe to and then do what is necessary, then I believe America will make my life beautiful. I believe there are things in me America will help me unleash,” said Asare.
Despite the countless opportunities that being able to study in the United States has provided for Asare, there are still challenges he has faced which has made it difficult to fully assimilate into campus life and connect with his peers. One such factor that has played a part in creating these obstacles is his age.
“My age is not a freshman age… Due to that, I’m trying not to mingle much here. Almost all my classes I go [to], and I just sit. You’re trying to mingle with people and do things with your peers, but it feels you’re almost going to be forcing yourself upon people and forcing yourself to create friends with people which shouldn’t be,” said Asare.
Additionally, Asare has found that his nationality is also a barrier. “It’s funny how we are in the 21st century and racism still exists. That’s a fact,” said Asare.
“I’ve met a guy who said, ‘I would never go to Africa, they’ll kidnap me.’ Barack Obama came to my country, was he kidnapped? …Many Americans come to my country and haven’t been kidnapped. Who told you that when you go to Africa you get kidnapped?” said Asare.
“[Whether] it’s the media or how Africa is being portrayed, you realize some people… have distorted realities about Africa,” said Asare.
Asare wants people, especially his fellow students, to know that “Africans, we are hospitable. Where we are coming from, there were things we didn’t have access to and so that has [led] us to be people who always want to achieve things that we were not able to get from the home state,” said Asare. “And also, if people have distorted realities about Africa it’s good they approach us and then learn… It’s good that you approach people from such backgrounds and then hear their realities [be]cause what you hear in the media is not always real,” said Asare.