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Oluwatoyin Olaleye, an international student from Nigeria, came to Harford Community College because he wanted to study nursing, a field he loved and wanted to pursue. In Nigeria, he did not have the opportunity to choose his major, and he was not placed in a nursing program. In addition, he said the educational system in his homeland was unstable -- plagued by incessant strikes that held students back and delayed graduation. Fortunately, Oluwatoyin’s sister and brother-in-law, who reside in Harford County, invited him to come and live with them and attend Harford.
He was concerned about the cultural differences he might encounter, but said everyone at HCC was more receptive than he thought they would be. “I have been very happy here and have made new friends. I enjoy everything about the College. I would tell others in Nigeria that HCC is a great college. It fosters your dreams, and the attention you receive is incredible. I believe that it is good to come to Harford first because it helps to prepare you for a four-year college. Instructors here make sure you understand the material; there is a lot of one-on-one. They really want you to pass and will advise you to visit the Tutoring Center or to read something that will help you understand the material.” He was also very pleased with his advisors who he said did everything they could to help him adjust and succeed.
Oluwatoyin enrolled in his very first online class and discovered that he loved the whole concept. “Online classes were a new experience for me. You can complete the course on your own time—on weekends or at midnight. You are not restricted to certain hours or having to come to a classroom for one-on-one instruction. But you must be able to manage your time.”
As a student in the nursing program, he has worked at Upper Chesapeake Health, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Mt. Washington Pediatric, and two nursing homes. Oluwatoyin will graduate from HCC’s nursing program in December 2014. After graduation, he plans to pursue an online BSN program.
As a student orientation leader last summer, he provided campus tours for new students and answered their many questions. He said he would share personal experiences with his students and explain that others have been through the same things. “We let them know they can succeed and encourage them to complete their goals.”
Oluwatoyin was the recipient of the International Student Scholarship and a Medical Student Scholarship. “The scholarships help me achieve my goals and relieve some of the financial burden for my sister, who is paying for my education. They encourage me to do well and help keep me focused.’
He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society at Harford Community College.
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