My name is Chinwe Oriji. I am from Trenton, NJ of Nigerian origin. I recently graduated from Rutgers University in May 2013, with a double major in Africana Studies and Public Health. When I think about my future, I see myself becoming a professor, working in a non-profit, and sharing my testimony through public speaking but I never imagined the University of Cambridge as being a part of the plan.
Prior to attending Cambridge, I never felt like I was “good enough” or “smart enough” to go to this University. I made every excuse in the book. I didn’t have private school education. I didn’t go to an Ivy League university for undergrad. This fear almost hindered me from applying. But I decided to put that fear aside and apply. On Thanksgiving of 2012, I found out I was accepted to the University of Cambridge in the UK to obtain my Masters in Modern Society and Global Transformation! This acceptance is a direct testament of my parents’ struggle.
I am a child of Nigerian immigrants. My parents were born and raised in a village in Abia State, Nigeria. As children, they survived the 1967-1970 Biafra war, in which over 1 million people died. During the 1980’s, my parents left their family and everything they knew with barely any cash in their pocket to come to the United States in hopes of achieving the “American Dream.” They wanted to give their children a better future. In 2004, my father suffered from a major stroke that left him disabled so my mother is the sole provider of a family of seven. Therefore, to see where they came from to now having their child to be the first to attend what is equivalent to a U.S ivy-league school is truly a blessing.
Within the one-year time frame of the Masters, I am focusing on British-born children of Nigerian immigrants attending UK universities, comparing their cultural influences and identity development with the research I have conducted on the identity of second-generation Nigerian Americans. After my Masters, I will further this research agenda while pursing my PhD. Ultimately, I hope my research can enhance the communication between Nigeria and the youth in the Diaspora by creating programs that allow the youth to return to Nigeria through internships, language courses, community service initiatives, etc.
Attending the University of Cambridge is not only about me. This opportunity is bigger than me. Students in the US are over $1 trillion in debt with the average student being $26,000 in debt (Forbes, 2013). So many of my friends told me that the lack of finances and immense debt was the main reason why they did not further their education to become that journalist, doctor, or teacher that they envisioned. Instead they must put their future on hold, find a job to pay off debt, and make ends meet, if they are even able to find a job. That should not be the case. It hinders their ability to pursue their passion, give back to their community, and become a productive citizen in their society.
Therefore, I hope to share my testimony to inspire others to dream bigger and beyond what they think is possible. I want to show others that no matter where you come from, your educational attainment, or how much money you have or don’t have you can follow your dreams and you are more than good enough!
With this ambition, I am on a mission to raise funds for Cambridge. The total finances (Tuition+ living expenses+ online donate fee) for Cambridge are about $45,000. I know this is a large amount but through faith and your support I know we can do this!
Miracles are already happening! Instead of the initial request of paying it all at once, Cambridge is now allowing me to pay in installments. So through your donations, I was able to pay my first installment with the next installment due in April. We are going to make it!!
If you have any questions please email me at [email protected].