On April 12, 2015, a terrified Sub-Saharan African (SSA) migrant on a sinking ship in the Mediterranean frantically called the European journalist, Meron Estefanos, for help. Shortly after, more calls came. At least 400 people are believed to have died and a week later, the worst migrant boat tragedy on record lead to the death of approximately 850 migrants. The most astonishing and depressing fact is that this story is not unique. SSA migrants have been drowning on the Mediterranean for years now. My life could have been analogous to that of the migrants if my parents had not afforded my family and I the opportunity to move from Nigeria to England and America. Growing up as a “third culture kid” (i.e. a culture outside of my parents) molded me to have a multicultural worldview. It also motivated my professional and educational goals to aid migrants by advocating for development in SSA. My current mindset, however, did not come about overnight.
When I moved to America 14 years ago I was the Nigerian kid, with a British accent, living in Virginia; hardly the quintessential, suburban Virginia high school student. Seldom did I find myself feeling comfortable in any particular social group. I was an aloof kid with an affinity for many “nerdy” things and a cultural background that often perplexed people. I found myself reclining into a state of confusion, alienation, and lack of self-confidence. It was not until my volunteer work in college that I realized these traits, which I had come to perceive as burdens, were gifts, for I was part of a much larger social community of global citizens.
I often reminisce back to time spent volunteering as an English as a Second Language teaching assistant for SSA migrants. I naturally interacted and brokered relationships with the migrants and my colleagues. I became cognizant of my global responsibilities, which heightened my value for diversity and my stance against social injustice. As worthwhile as these volunteering days were, I knew working to aid the exploited and marginalized needed to be at an institutional level for longitudinal impact. A degree in International Development will be my next step in doing my part as a global citizen. My principal task upon obtaining this degree will be to get nations to achieve transparency, accountability, and amalgamated policy to create a “world community” for migrants.
Witnessing the plight of the disenfranchised and wanting to garner greater understanding of the international arena to develop solutions to economic crises propelled me to study International Development. I chose this degree to work with like-minded individuals, broker relationships between SSA and European nations, inspire innovative perspectives and initiatives, and provide solutions to avoid the ongoing tragedies on the Mediterranean. As a young adult, I was able to overcome my personal obstacles and take advantage of my cultural competence. This same opportunity must be afforded to present and future migrants who could have had a story very similar to my own.
We are proud to announce Adedamola Ladipo is one of the current DiversityJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for his essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.