In my courses, I don’t pull any punches, and I have extremely high expectations of my students. I believe that, despite the challenges they face, the students here should be given every opportunity possible to learn. The challenges they must overcome are not small. When in college, I had 24/7 electricity and internet, a machine to wash my clothes, and I never once thought about the dangers of war. These are not the realities for students at UCBC, but UCBC Applied Science students are nonetheless mastering engineering material at a high level.
It is a pleasure to introduce to you some of these stellar students. Today, I want you to meet Abigael, a sophomore computer engineering student. Abigael has regularly scored at the top of every course I’ve taught – last semester she showed an excellent performance on my multivariable calculus exam (which was described by my American colleague as ‘brutal’).
Here has been Abigael’s experience at UCBC in her own words (translated by myself).
1) Why did you choose to come to UCBC?
I chose to come to UCBC first due to the LMD system; second because, as a Christian university, I knew that it would build me spiritually; and third, because I wanted to learn English. When I saw UCBC alumni speaking fluent English, I told myself that I must study there to reach that level.
2) What are some challenges you’ve overcome during your studies?
I have had many difficulties adapting to the amount of mathematics that is in our department. Since I was on the business and management track in [secondary] school, which does not focus on math, I have been obliged to study with Khan Academy to help me overcome the challenge. Also, since our books, homework and quizzes are in English, I have started self-teaching English with DuoLingo. This has really helped me.
3) What are some of the most important lessons that you’ve learned at UCBC?
The most important lesson that I’ve learned is that if you want to succeed at something, you must do exercises day by day. Another thing is that UCBC helps us to respect time and teaches us how to manage it. Lastly, teachers give us work that must be done in groups, which helps us to know how to work with others. I love UCBC because it is helping me attain my goals of being a good engineer who manages time, who can work with others, and who can work courageously [without losing heart].
Abigael is a student who has perseverance, self-motivation and a drive to learn. She has never failed to rise to meet a challenge that I’ve thrown at her. I believe that she will be a change maker in Congo because she has not let her circumstances limit her.
Abigael is one of many students who is overcoming, persevering and excelling. To say I’m proud of my students is an understatement. I am inspired by them. I hope you will be too.