I was five when we left Sudan, but my parents worked really hard on making sure that me and my siblings understand where we’re from. They make sure we understand our roots. One of the traditions that I found really fascinating when we went back (to Sudan) in 2014 is that when you have family from America who comes back to Africa, the entire family gathers – no matter where they are – and we all step over a goat. They lay down a live goat, and we step over it. It represents a blessing over us – a blessing for safe travel back. Then we kill it and eat it.
People have to understand that the way Africa is portrayed in the media is not how Africa looks. Africa is beautiful. The difference is there just isn’t as much opportunity in Africa as there are for people here. So being here has really made me understand that there are some things that I did take for granted. But now I appreciate the true value of hard work.
That’s why I worked hard to graduate with my undergraduate degree in three years, at the age of 20 and started my doctoral program at the age of 22. It just made me realize that education is what’s going to make me successful and give me hope here in the United States.”
– Nyabang, graduate clinical psychology student, originally from South Sudan, Africa.