My journey to the ‘American Dream’ as an International Student- Part 1

Helloooooo 🙂 ! How are you all doing? Before I proceed with the gist for this week, can I just reiterate how grateful I am for all your support. I have seen support from people since I started this blogging journey and I must say I really get the ginger to do more when I see you all support me the way you do. Thank you. A dupe. (Yoruba language) Na gode! (Hausa Language) Daalu! (Igbo Laguage) Gracias. (Spanish).

Let’s get to today’s gist :D. I get questions from people like me (lawyers), who want to pursue a post graduate degree program in the United States. Some of these questions come from people who have already taken the bold step of coming to the U.S. Some other questions come from people who are still in Nigeria and are looking forward to coming to the U.S. Having the right information and doing more research before embarking on any post graduate journey is key and that is why I hope to share some of the things I have learnt through my journey as an international student in the field of law.

The reason why I did not choose to do my post graduate studies in the United Kingdom (U.K) was because at that time, international students had to leave the U.K immediately after completing their Master’s program. There was no option of staying back for at least a year (like it happens in the U.S) to get some working experience. The question for me then became: what will be the point of spending so much on a postgraduate program, and one can’t even stay behind to work for a while and earn some money back in foreign currency.

What I did not know though, is how rare it can be to file a work visa for an international lawyer in the U.S, which will eventually affect what happens after the one year you are given to work . Please, before you people come for me, I am not saying its impossible, it’s just rare. Let’s leave that story for another day. So many factors contributed to my decision to leave for my post graduate degree in 2015. However, the most pressing one will be the fact that I was just tired of living and working in Lagos. lol! That might sound as a wrong reason to go for Masters…but I was honestly tired. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always wanted to do more than a Bachelor’s degree. I even expected my would be spouse to want more than a Bachelor’s degree otherwise, we were not heading the same direction. Silly me, as if its by force lol!

I put in my application for different schools and with the help of my eldest Brother, I started negotiating scholarships with these schools. There are different types of scholarships out there and so I implore you to do your research well o because law school in America can be very expensive. Also there are great resources out there now like consulting firms that provide these kinds of services. They walk you through the process of gaining admission and getting scholarships. Of course you will still do some work on your part, but these consulting firms can guide you, to ensure you are looking at the right places. You can dm me on instagram and I’ll share some recommendations 😉 The two major types of scholarships I know are merit based and need-based. My understanding is that if you graduated top of your class, there are certain scholarships available for you. I did not make a first class from my Bachelor’s degree. I made a Second Class (Upper). Not bad so I’d still give myself a pat on the back :D. I started negotiating for mostly need based scholarships. Applying for need based scholarships is just simply saying I will need some financial support to pursue this degree as I do not have enough. I used the word negotiate because you can really negotiate with these people. The good thing about these schools is that they listen. Feel free to ask for what you want. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no. We still meeeuuvvve!

The first admission I got was from University of California, Berkeley. However, it was only after I gained the admission, that I realized I had made the mistake of choosing a program that just wants me to come to school and once I am done, I’m heading back to my work in Nigeria. In fact the program expected me to go back to work in Nigeria when I’m on school holidays. Who has that much to be flying up and down? I think it was called Professional Track at the time. What I should have chosen was the Traditional Track. That professional track is for the big boys and big girls of Lagos who are already earning enough to live comfortably in Lagos…lol! Unfortunately, I was not in that category!

I got some other admissions from schools like University of California, Hastings. Can’t remember the rest right now, but I eventually chose St. John’s University School of Law in Queens, NY. I chose St. John’s for various reasons: First, it’s location which is New York City allowed me to be able to commute without worrying about owning a car. Secondly, they were going to prepare me to sit for New York Bar Exam. Thirdly and probably the most important, they had offered me the highest amount of scholarship.

I hope you join me next week for part 2! 🙂 If you know anyone that will find this post helpful, pls share! I also hope you found it enlightening.

Have a great week!

8 thoughts on “My journey to the ‘American Dream’ as an International Student- Part 1

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