I am Kelvin Olisamuni, a Nigerian, currently studying M.A. Political Science at Jamia Millia Islamia University. Coming to India for studies was never on my mind until one Monday morning when my parents popped the question of me studying in India. I smiled immediately and said why not. Later, I googled India like never before! Finally, here I am in this incredible sub-continent.
India is a country with diverse and interesting cultures. People kept on asking me why I chose India for my college. Here is my answer — my parents have so much love and respect for the Indian culture and traditions. That influenced me a lot. Back home in Nigeria, my mom decorated the sitting room with Indian antiques and traditional Indian arts. That is how much my parents love India. Also, I chose India because I wanted a different perspective on life and world politics. And I am so glad I came here.
The Department of Political Science of JMI gave a challenging atmosphere with a lot of work, but exciting at the same time. I vividly remember how I found myself facing a class test on my very first day here. That wasn’t cool at all for me at that moment, but it occurred to me that I have to work my brains out!
The Department organizes so many activities to keep us, the students, on our toes. I also remember the seminar we had during the United States presidential elections — it was very thoughtful of the teachers to bring to the students the happenings in global politics.
Blending into the mainstream in India has been very rewarding. I have been able to learn the various Indian cultures and way of life through various spectrum, especially festivals such as Holi and Diwali. I must say it was not at all easy at the beginning due to cultural and even racial differences. As in, wherever you go, as a foreigner, you are treated with smiles and sometimes with a smirk.
I find one factor in this unique country very encouraging and that is the fighting and competitive spirit of virtually every Indian. For me, that was just like the hustling nature of my country, Nigeria. Both India and Nigeria are former British colonies. While modern India is taking a new shape in the post liberalization era by engaging in massive industrialization and various economic reforms, Nigeria is still lagging behind in the industrial sector, but has also made reasonable impact in the world by supplying crude oil to the countries in need.
It’s been a new experience all together. In the political arena, I find it amusing how political parties go about their rhetoric discourses to garner votes, and also the dynamisms different parties bear on the Indian politics. For me that is worth emulating.
In the future, I would like to see myself as a liberal democrat, an open minded individual with respect for all people around the globe irrespective of who they are. I have come to admire and see this great nation as a home away from home, especially, the Department of Political Science at JMI. I love it here.
[Kelvin Olisamuni, class of 2014, is a student from Nigeria in the Department of Political Science. This article was first published in the 2013 edition of ‘Episteme’ — Dept. of Political Science’s annual student magazine. We republish it here with permission.]