• Saturday, May 25, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Studying in the USA offers Nigerian students unique opportunities

Studying in the USA offers Nigerian students unique opportunities

Rose Ibiama, a Nigerian student who graduated in 2005 from Calvin University — located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA — began her education as an engineering student and ultimately received a degree in computer science.

Today, she is a character effects artist at DreamWorks Animation, working with Oscar-winning animation teams. She recently wrapped up her latest feature film, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, and her other films include Frozen and Madagascar 3, among many other projects. Ibiama credits her education at Calvin University as giving her the foundation for her unique work.

“I went from engineering to pre-architecture to information systems to computer science,” Rose shared. “And I learned from all of them — plus I loved my art and literature classes.”

Rose’s experience is a reminder that an education in the United States provides students with unique opportunities and vital skills needed for rewarding careers. It also allows students options of what they want to study – which is quite different from the public university system we are used to in Nigeria.

While Calvin’s enrollment includes a robust number of students from Nigeria and West Africa, it is also a great place to make lifelong American friends

For students interested in studying abroad in the USA, there are several steps that students and families must take to be admitted. First, students must fill out an application for the university they wish to attend, paying strict attention to deadlines and when the application may be free. If it has passed the deadline, families are advised to ask the school if they have a fee waiver code.

Next, students should review the school website and find out what documents an institution requires. Parents are advised to help their student collect those documents before applying — this will speed up the application process. U.S. university admissions personnel insist it is critical to use an email address that is checked frequently so vital information is not missed.

Some applications require an essay based on prompt questions. Students should focus on narrating an experience that has made an impact on their learning. This is also a great time for students to expand on their gifts and talents. A thoughtful and well written three-paragraph essay is enough.

The documentation required for each school varies, but typically most universities require official secondary school transcripts, country testing results, and a copy of a student’s passport page. Students are not always expected to take the U.S.-based college entrance exams, the SAT and ACT, but they may be asked to complete an English proficiency examination.

Advisors at the EducationUSA office, located in both Abuja and Lagos, can specifically walk families step by step through the process of applying to a university overseas and obtaining proper documentation. Financial aid is typically determined after a student has been admitted into a university.

At Calvin University, students, such as Nigerian and class of 1997 alumnus Danladi Verheijen, are inspired to view the world with curiosity, wonder and a Christ-like perspective. With every class, students are equipped to think deeply, act justly, and live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world while receiving world-class education to one day enter the workforce.

Danladi, the current CEO of Verod Capital Management based in Lagos, is an example of an alumnus making a difference in his corner of the globe. As a secondary school student at Hillcrest School in Jos, Nigeria, Danladi heard about the opportunities available to him at Calvin. After majoring in electrical engineering at Calvin, Danladi was drawn to business, later pursuing graduate studies at Stanford University and Harvard University in the USA.

For 100 years, Calvin has enjoyed a relationship with the Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria and other local denominations. The rigorous academics, safe environment, Christ-centered education, work opportunities on and off campus, and post-graduation job openings and graduate school opportunities in the United States have made Calvin a premier university choice of Nigerian families for generations. Located in Grand Rapids, one of the fastest growing economic regions of the United States, the university is an easy two-hour drive from Detroit, a major airport hub in the USA.

Of the nearly 4,000 current students at Calvin, approximately 75 are from Nigeria. There are also international students from South Korea, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, China, and a host of other countries, giving the university a unique, multi-cultural environment that helps students flourish academically, personally and spiritually. While Calvin’s enrollment includes a robust number of students from Nigeria and West Africa, it is also a great place to make lifelong American friends.

Current Calvin president Wiebe Boer understands what Nigerian families are looking for in a university as he was born and raised in Nigeria and came to Calvin himself from Nigeria after secondary school in Jos. “The value of a Calvin education means Nigerian students are equipped with lifelong skills that they can, in turn, bring back to Nigeria,” explained Boer. “Centered around the integration of faith and learning, a Christian education builds stronger communities, offers training for a student’s chosen vocation and promotes a lifetime of service to God.”

Please visit www.calvin.edu/admissions/internationals/ for additional information and to get started on the application process.

Boer is the 12th President of Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.