Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
I am proud to be a Nigerian. I love my culture and the diverse background that I come from. Being born and brought up as a Nigerian has taught me to be more opening minded and better able to understand individual differences in others. There are some Nigerian traditions that are different from the American culture I still have to respect even though it has been one and half years I left my home country for the USA. However by abiding to these traditions has let me grow up with a better appreciation of other cultures including my own. Whenever I see a Nigerian adult I have to call them auntie or uncle, and I have to greet elders by prostrating for them, and the strict background that I was raised with has caused me to take a greater appreciation towards work and a greater respect to others.
Respect in the Nigerian culture is very important. All traditions that are upheld revolve around respect. The act of prostrating down for elders reveals a lot about a person in the Nigerian culture. When a child prostrate down to an older person it shows how well brought up the child is, he or she is respectful, and that he or she actually values Nigerian traditions. I want to reflect all these things about me when I prostrate for elders. After those few minutes I meet a person I do not want to be known as the boy that showed no respect to his elders. I care how I am represented as a person. I do not want to be the reason for why someone else is looked upon poorly. No matter where I am I make sure that if anyone were to meet me that I am representing myself the way that I would like to be remembered. Through this tradition that I follow, I value other cultures that may have unorthodox traditions too. I understand and can relate to the way that Asians have to bow down to their elders. I do not view it as strange or odd, but I know exactly how they feel or why they have to bow down to their elders. Again, it is all about respect
One particular experience that I encountered was at a family friend's graduation. I stood with my family, and then I see a herd of Nigerians coming in my direction. I only recognize a few adults' faces, and the rest are just new faces to me. Even though I have never met some of these people before I knew the proper thing to do was to greet by prostrating for the elders. One has to treat one another as if they are family. That day I had to prostrate for every elder that I knew already or did not know. I never really understood why I greeted people the way that I do, but I simply could not let my parents down. Even being in the foreign country, I still want to continue the traditions of my ancestral country. However I do not only want to prostrate for elders or call these strangers my aunts or uncles, but I want to represent who I am as a person through these acts of respect.
I want to continue these Nigerian traditions mostly to stay connected with my roots. They are very meaningful to me because that is the only way that I can connect to my home country for which I have yet to visit since my migration to the USA on the 20th of January 2012. Keeping the culture, eating the food, wearing the traditional clothing, and listening to the native music is the only way that I can relive the culture even though I am not actually in the country.