If anyone tells me before I depart Nigeria that I will not become an Aeronautical Engineer I will fight the person based on my strong determination, but on reaching Greece many unexpected occurrences affected my decision. Firstly, and most important is the fact that Tunji left Athens. It was not in my calculations that someone I looked up to for mentoring will leave suddenly. Secondly, the introduction to Gburu and the issue of the Greek language affected my decisions.


As soon as I returned to Athens I called Alhaji Adekola telling him that whenever he’s going to the school he should take me along because I want to visit the place, he said I should join him at a particular time the following day. I went with him and we moved round and I was able to observe the few places we went.

In the concluding part of our tour, he took me to the academic office and have a discussion with the Academic Secretary, he appeared to be a friendly person, and he took the time to explain some questions I asked him, especially about the admission requirements. I  returned to Athens alone because Alhaji was having lectures. I  was glad that he took me there because it turned out to be a new experience in its entirety. Seeing a new set of people, mostly Greek Americans, American service personnel, and other foreign nationals surely impressed me. I doubted if I sighted a single Nigerian throughout my brief visit. Surprisingly, by the time I gained admission to the University very few Nigerians were on the admission list, factually I  can only be seeing Alhaji Adekola. I keep wondering how he located or discovered such a revealing outcome. He is a genius. I’m indebted to him forever.

Because I was impressed by what I saw I went on to pray that they should accept me.


To meet their requirements I have to write a letter quickly to my cousin Sunday in Nigeria who l left in my apartment in Challenge, Ibadan to send the statement of my last GCE result which I wrote six months before I departed from Nigeria. Luckily he’s a staff of the Nigeria Poster Services and he used the fastest means available to mail the parcel. A few weeks later I got the parcel and I enrolled in a course that I did not contemplate in Nigeria. I was accepted for a minimum of four years of courses for a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. I paid for the first semester. I was very grateful to Alhaji Adekola who was instrumental in my discovery of the American University.


The new academic year began in September, they called it Semester and I was pleasantly surprised that I was not the only Nigerian in the lecture room, apparently a fellow Nigerian female student was equally enrolled and she was also majoring in Business Management. At the end of the lectures that day I went and greeted her. That was my first time meeting her I asked for her name, and she said Bola Adesiyan. I told her mine. Interestingly we were the only African students in the class and we have no choice but to start exchanging ideas.


I can still remember vividly the first university course ‘English 101’ we had was very tough. The two of us encountered similar problems because the American lady lecturer was speaking in her native English and we Africans and some Greek citizens in the class seriously have problems understanding her. And to make matters worse, without a pass in this important course a student cannot move forward, it is a prerequisite or compulsory. Oftentimes Bola will signal to me and say in Yoruba ‘Brother me!!! emi oma gbo nkan ti on soo’ meaning my brother I don’t understand what she’s saying. Although I have similar problems in understanding the lecturer in order not to disappoint Bola I usually listen extra hard, therefore when the formal class is over the two of us will go through the lecture once again. It was the most difficult period for us, a hard beginning, indeed.

One day Bola and I approached the academic secretary to complain about our difficulty in getting what the lecturer is saying. He smiled and said the reason for giving us a native English speaker is for us to be able to listen attentively. He explained further that if a student can pass the course, it’s expected that such students will be able to cope with any other lecturers you may come across in the future.


The University of La Verne with Headquarters in San Diego, California, USA. organized a Centre in Athens, Greece as stated previously. By the time I enrolled at the Athens Residence Centre despite having few Africans as students but there is no discrimination and I always felt better whenever I’m going to the place. The feeling and the atmosphere are awesome. Despite being a small place I admired the place and cherished the quality of the lectures. Therefore it was not a surprise before Bola and I reach the third semester there was an astronomical increase in the number of Nigerian and other African students enrolling in various fields of studies. It’s a thing of joy that what few of us whom you can call trailblazers started with huge risk and feeling of attempting something strange in Greece was getting noticed and many students were withdrawing from the so-called established Greek Universities and Polytechnics. The most surprising ones were students from Pearce College which is well-built and structured quitting their College and joining us due to the issue of accreditation. Abey my neighbor withdrew from Pearce College and joined us.


The most interesting thing about the University of La Verne, Athens Residence Centre is that as soon as students enrolled, due to the sound organization and a well-lay down university administrative system, you’re engrossed in the academic activities that you don’t think of any other distractions other than how to progress academically and how to pay the school fees.

Despite the location of the Athens Residence Centre far away from Athens city center, we don’t have problems commuting to the place daily. The center was located in a suburb called Kifisia, not very far from the United States Military Base. Buses are going to Kifisia and returning to Athens regularly. I cannot remember a day that I have problems reaching school. None of us ever use taxis that are always on standby.


Despite having a few problems in some courses as we were progressing academically I excel in general terms. I have not much problem competing with other students even when people you don’t expect to join come from places beyond Greece. It was fun as we progressed. I can still remember how we used to rush to take a position at the central heating area in the lecture rooms mostly in winter. No matter the clothes you have on you have to struggle to seat close to the Central heating system especially when you have evening lectures. The winter cold is always unbearable.


I was glad to conclude the second year successfully, however, Bola my main partner whom l was getting used to like a sister had martial problems and left temporarily. I surely missed her, because I cannot help it I have to move on. By then more Nigerian Students had joined and we were somehow getting along but it was not the same.


Having stayed for two years and making steady progress academically I decided to seek a transfer of course credit to the Main campus in the United States. I believed after a while I was thinking about the issue of studying for an American degree in a country such as Greece. Sometimes as we were progressing some of us believed it was better to go to the main campus. A Nigerian man from Ondo State who I believed senior me in age Mr Akinleye joined the school directly from Nigeria and we discussed regularly. Most of our discussion centered on how to transfer course credits to the main campus.

Having senior him by a year I believed I stand a better chance therefore I joyfully prepared for the US student visa. In our quest to obtain the visa without any failure we apply through the Athens Residence Centre, Although I cannot recollect correctly but I believed they gave us an official letter to back our application for a student visa from Athens. We were given a date for a visa interview and we attended it accordingly.

Surprisingly, the results came out negative. We were denied the Student visas without any reasonable reason for the rejection. I returned home dejected.

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