Saturday, July 21, 2007

Two years and still going strong...

The ninth of July marked exactly two years since I came to study in South Africa. I am amazed how much time has gone by since I arrived in July of 2005.
I have learnt so much about myself, the continent of Africa and the peoples over these two years.
I have questioned previously held views and learnt to be open to other views and new experiences.
It is important for any individual to travel and interact with different cultures and races. I would not exchange these two years for all the diamonds in the world.
I had a meeting with my head of department on Thursday (19th July), and as we talked about how much I had grown since I first enrolled for the postgraduate degree, I realised how much I had improved and matured personally and academically.
My writing skills are greatly improved. My communication and presentation skills are constantly improving. So also my analytical and inter-personal skills. I have achieved some of the objectives I set for myself in these two years and gained so much by utilising any opportunities that arise.
I am quite pleased with this opportunity to study in the States, at the same time I feel as if I am again uprooting myself just when I was beginning to settle into this environment (South Africa). I am however not afraid of taking risks that I identify as viable career opportunities or possibilities for growth. Sometimes the risks are calculated, other times spontaneous.
I look forward to going to the States, but I am not yet feeling the excitement. Right now I am more excited about going home to visit my family after two long years.
Johannesburg has become a 'surrogate' home for me, and I will miss it and the networks I have built in the nine months I will be away.


Thomas Blaser said...

And you missed big time on the walk today - well, you will have to join next year! A pity I did not know you 2 years ago. So I could verify your claim.

Susan Arthur said...

Ije, you're right about learning so much about yourself in new places. Sometimes I feel youngest of the WOW group in more ways than one because I am one of the few who aren't living away from their home country, so haven't had that learning experience - although I have travelled, but haven't spent extensive amounts of time living in foreign countries.

I'm glad you took some time to reflect amongst the business of your day to day life. So... it's under two weeks till you go! I'm sure the trip to the US will hit you once you're on the plane there.

And don't worry, in cyberspace, you will be able to keep all the connections you built here alive.

I love the photo by the way.
See you soon for your farewell dinner.

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Thank you Susan and Thomas,
Well, pity you didn't know me two years ago but you are getting to know me now, which is good because I'm much improved from who and what I was two years back!

Enjoy being young, too soon you'll be saying when I was 24!! But seriously I have grown so much, most times I can't see it because one is always so self-critical (that inner-voice that won't shut up!!). I'm learning to 'love myself' like Indie Arie advices. It's been a wonderful experience and I would not change it for anything.

Susan Arthur said...

Hey, I think it takes a life time to love yourself... I'm working on doing that too - and i'm also much changed (and improved!) since 2 years ago! I think WOW definitely helped to build my confidence - especially with regard to entering the job market. looking forward to reading about yr next big adventure :)