Adaobi Umeugo -
University of Delaware, USA

My name is Adaobi, and I’m currently a first-year Masters student at the University of Delaware, having completed my Bachelor’s degree at the same institution.

During the pandemic in 2019, I began my Bachelor’s degree in The Netherlands. When the pandemic hit, I quickly realized that attending college would be difficult for a long time. My family and I have traveled extensively, particularly in the US, so I’ve always had a desire to study abroad.

Additionally, I worked as an au pair in both San Francisco and New Jersey in 2018-2019. After realizing I could only do a semester abroad, I began searching for a way to complete my entire degree overseas. I found UStudy to assist me in starting the process and identifying suitable schools. I aimed to pursue a degree in Political Science due to my significant interest in social justice and government. I applied to several schools on the East Coast and ultimately chose Delaware.

People often ask me, why Delaware? The University of Delaware is centrally located between major cities on the East Coast and has connections with prominent political figures. For example, the current President Joe Biden attended school here. The campus is beautiful, offers numerous on-campus activities, and provided the program I was interested in. Additionally, I have family in both Delaware and Maryland, making it the best option for me.

Initially, it was all very overwhelming arriving alone and adjusting to the language and college life. I arrived in the Fall of 2021, and by Spring 2022, I began feeling more comfortable and at ‘home’ in Delaware.

I joined a sorority and started to enjoy college life. I graduated in May 2023, but I felt lost and saddened about leaving Delaware, where I had found happiness, friends, and a sense of belonging. Despite my family being in The Netherlands, I deeply desired to stay in Delaware.

Graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, I realized on the plane back home that I needed to return, as I was leaving behind the life I had worked so hard to build. Upon returning home, I reached out to my two Professors in the Political Science department and discussed their recommendations.

I decided to apply for the Public Policy Program at The Biden School of Public Policy. The program’s deadline was August 15th, a relatively late date for graduate applications, which I interpreted as a sign to apply. Despite the time-consuming application process and being on a trip to South Africa and Namibia with my family, I managed to complete and submit my application, even amidst a sandstorm in Namibia with limited internet connection.

Reflecting on this experience, I realize I didn’t give up on the process, even though it wasn’t easy.

However, UD inadvertently overlooked my application and admitted me just a week before classes began. Despite the tight timeline, I was ecstatic to return, reunite with my friends, and resume my jobs. I returned and picked up where I left off in Delaware, cherishing every moment.

It was one of the best decisions of my life, as I finally found what I was searching for. I’ve had incredible experiences related to my major, such as witnessing Nancy Pelosi’s visit to UD and seeing Valerie Biden at the Biden Institute.

It’s been quite a journey, but I love being here. My friends and I celebrated St. Patties last weekend. Though I may not fully understand some traditions, it’s fun to be with friends.

All I can say is, follow your dreams, believe in yourself, and go for it. It’s far from easy, but it becomes more manageable with time. Never give up.

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