Windhoek-Namibian students studying at various universities and colleges in the United States of America (USA) have increased by 22 percent during the 2016/2017 academic year, bringing the total number to 93.
The number of Namibian students in the U.S. has been steadily rising over the past few years with an increase of 13.4 percent in the 2015/2016 academic year.
The number of U.S. students studying in Namibia has also increased steadily by 7.9 percent during the 2015/2016 period, according to a report by the U.S. embassy in Namibia.
“This highlights the diversity of strong relations in education diplomacy and cultural exchanges between Namibia and the U.S.,” said Eric Atkins, the public affairs officer in the U.S. embassy.
Furthermore, of the 93 Namibian students in the U.S., 55 students, which is about 59.1 percent, are undergraduate students.
A total of 35 students, constituting 37.6 percent, are graduate students and the remaining 3.3 percent are on optional practical and no degree training. The report also shows that Kansas, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma are the top six states hosting Namibian students.
“International education should be part of every student’s academic career. Through more globalized classrooms and through international exchange, students experience new perspectives and learn how to adapt to unexpected circumstances, work with diverse peers and communicate across cultures and languages. These experiences will help prepare students to enter global markets and solve the world’s toughest challenges,” said Atkins.
Leena Iitula is one of the 93 Namibians studying in the U.S. The young woman, who is pursuing a Master of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MA TESL), is on a fully-funded Fulbright scholarship.
“I learned about the scholarship through friends and former University of Namibia classmates, who got the privilege to pursue their masters in the U.S. funded by the Fulbright program,” said Iitula.
She decided to give it a shot and applied in 2015. Amongst other things, Iitula has been exposed to American culture, law, the political system, and the education system.
“This is only my third month and I must say I have learned immensely and gained profound exposure to various facets, both academic and social, which I would never have experienced if it weren’t for this opportunity,” said Iitula.
Prior to going to the U.S., Iitula was particularly worried about the cultural shock she might experience. She had never lived in a foreign country before and as a result had fears she might struggle to adjust.
“I grew up with the understanding that life in the U.S. is fast paced and no one really has time for the next person. But most people that I have come in contact with, mainly in the academic sphere, are really social, helpful and supportive,” said Iitula.