Student Spotlight: Graduate student helps others as international student ambassador


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Kehinde Adebayo, a graduate student in economics, came to Eastern from Nigeria five months ago. Adebayo is an international student ambassador. He said he wanted to be one to help others like he was helped when he first came to the United States.

Cassie Buchman, Editor in Chief

Kehinde Adebayo, a graduate student studying economics, has only been in the United States for five months, but he is already getting involved, helping others who were once in his shoes as an international student ambassador.
Coming to Eastern from Nigeria in August, he said he has learned a lot.
Though he has noticed some differences between American and Nigerian culture—for example, the way students interact with professors—he has enjoyed his time in the United States.
“It’s been interesting. It’s been educating. I’ve made a lot of friends, learned (about) different cultures. It’s been fun,” he said.
His favorite part of being in America is being able to meet students from different countries.
As a student ambassador, Adebayo came back to Eastern from break early, arriving on Jan. 3.
Along with the other ambassadors, he helped new international students transition onto campus and assisted them with things such as registration. This included answering questions the new students had, as well as giving them tours of Eastern, showing them places like the dining hall and Booth Library, or going to places like Wal-Mart.
“It was very, very cold, but we did our best,” Adebayo said, laughing. “We took some people, showed them … we can do this here, we can do that there.”
Some ambassadors even went to Chicago to pick students up from the airport, helping them with their bags and taking them to their rooms and apartments.
“I think importantly, we just really help students to get settled (and) give them the confidence (and) the feeling that they are home,” Adebayo said.
With coming to a new environment, many students are nervous, but having to people talk to helps, he added.
“When I first got here my first day, I was nervous but immediately, they introduced the international students (and) I felt like, I’m OK,” Adebayo said.
The best part about the program for Adebayo is being able to help the students.
“People helped me when I got here, they helped me to get settled and that is exactly (why) I want to give back too,” he said. “(Ambassadors) took me around, (were) very very helpful, showed me where to get things, where I could stay. They came to Chicago to carry my bags, and after the end of orientation they still helped me to move my bags to my apartment.”
He plans on being an ambassador next semester, too.
Adebayo went to Bowen University in Nigeria for his undergraduate education, during which he also majored in economics.
His love for economics started in high school, where he was an inquisitive student.
“I usually asked my economics teacher why this, why that when I was in high school,” Adebayo said.
He found out about Eastern while going through different schools online and checking out different programs.
Adebayo graduates in 2019. This year, he said his main goal is to learn more about “the things (he) doesn’t know.”
“Academically … I have a lot of goals, a lot of objectives,” he said. “I’m hoping the classes I’m taking this semester will be able to give me answers.”

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]