From Nigeria to the USA and Germany
Born and raised in Nigeria, Vitalis Nujimem later moved to the US to pursue his bachelor's and master's degree. For his studies, he needed a stay abroad and it soon became clear to him that he wanted to come to Germany. By receiving the UAS7 scholarship, Vitalis was then given the opportunity to study in Germany at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. In the following Interview he reports about his experiences and his future plans to settle down in Germany.
You went to Germany with UAS7 in 2015. Why and when did you decide to apply to the program?
Students pursuing bachelor’s degree in International Business at Baruch College must complete a semester abroad. More importantly, I was also trying to get not only first-hand knowledge of European education, learn the German culture, but also take advantage of the assistantship provided by UAS7.
What did you like most about living and studying in Germany? Did your program meet your expectations?
I might be born a Nigerian, but Germany was more of a home to me than Nigeria. For example, I like to tell my friends here in America that when I retire, I would like to buy a home in Germany because it is one of the most peaceful places, I have ever lived in. The culture, their way of life, and the opportunity for startup business outperform any regions in the world. The program exceeded my expectation in many ways because the instant in-class preparation of presentation can be a top-notch skill for any student from any part of the world, be it Africa, America, or Asia. This system of teaching is what attracted me to the German education system, and the one reason why I would like to do my Ph.D. in Germany if given an opportunity. Lastly, I liked that the program was diverse. In the Cross-Cultural Management course (CCMI), students had to give presentations of their different cultures. I was very fortunate to be in this course because I learned a lot of other cultures. I remember delivering a presentation on Nigeria's History, Economics, & Business. For example, a student made a presentation on Vietnam - a diverse country in the upswing. One other in Canary Island - Festival, Parties, & Celebrations. Some other groups spoke on Festivals Around the World, Australia, Germany, and Mexico, Body Language & Gestures, Dos & Don'ts in Different Culture, Germany vs. Mexico - how Mexico Differ from Germany, Entertainment in Different Culture, and even Love in Different Culture.
(How) did your experience abroad with UAS7 change or impact your ambitions towards your career?
I believe that my time abroad with UAS7 had a positive impact on my career because it gave me the opportunity to learn about a new country, exposed me to a new culture, and allowed me to connect and network with people from all over the world.
The ability for me to prepare myself for the program and navigate the German educational system shows that I can learn to adapt to new environments and changes. However, my exposure to the German culture increased my passion for International Business more and more because I can now communicate in new ways that might not have been possible. More so, connecting and networking with other students in the program has been a good thing career-wise because these students are now lifelong friends and business associates.
How did your experience in Germany influence you personally?
Personally speaking, my time in Germany has influenced and shaped how I view the world and my place in it differently. After going through the five stages of cultural shock, I became a different person entirely. My worldview, sense of confidence, taste changed. I am more attached to the German education system than that of Nigeria and the United States today. Additionally, whether it is the small talk with a classmate, my encounter with the locals at the nearby shop at 129 Brunnenstraße, or the hustle and bustle I went through to get my Burgeramt document signed and stamped, all of these individual encounters shaped me differently. But my 6-months overseas will still be one of the best and most educational experiences of my college life.
What did you do after you returned from Germany and what are you currently doing? Do you still have ties to Germany / the German people and/or language?
In 2016, after returning from my study abroad experience in Germany, I completed my bachelor's degree program at Baruch College. Presently, I graduated with a Dual MBA in Corporate Finance and General Business from Pace University. I still communicate with some of the students on my LinkedIn page, and I met with my UAS7 Co-host in New York City. It has been hard to keep up with the German language since I have no one to speak back to me. Nonetheless, I still have my Passwort Deutsch book here on my desk.