Hi everybody. Welcome to a new episode in the igowithIGHO podcast. This is season four episode two, and I have a very special guest, a good friend, a good brother, Obi Bruno. Obi, welcome to the igowithIGHO Podcast. How are you doing today? Hey, Igho,. Um, thank you for having me first of all. I’m doing great. It’s been a beautiful day.
It is winter after all, but today’s not that cold, so I’m good. How are you doing? I’m doing well. Well, it’s good to hear. It’s not that cold. It’s freezing cold here in the Midwest, so if it’s not cold in Delaware, that, that’s good news, . I know. I’m so glad. The weather is good today, right? Well, welcome to the show again.
It’s good to see you here. Tell my audience something about you, something exciting, where you’re from, something you wanna share with us, right? I dunno if I have something exciting to tell you, but I can give you some facts about me. My name’s Obi Bruno, as you mentioned, I was born in Brazil. I’m half Brazilian, half Nigerian.
That’s something we share our Nigerian ancestry. My mom’s Brazilian dad’s Nigerian. I was raised in Brazil for the most part. Lived in South Africa for a few years. So I went to middle school in South Africa. I did one year of high school in Nigeria. Uh, then I moved back to Brazil until I migrated here to the US to, to get my bachelor’s, and currently I’m getting my master’s at the University of Delaware.
Awesome. Awesome. Well, I know it’s a weird question, but how does it feel being mixed? Mixed! Well, honestly, I don’t wanna get too political . Okay. Okay. But I would say it’s because I was raised being, you know, multi-cultured, like especially inside my household. It’s not something I really noticed until I moved to the US being that the US everything is so labeled.
Yeah. Um, so I, I guess I became more self-aware in regards to my identity when I moved here. But it’s great. I mean, I get to enjoy some Nigerian cooking and at the same time eat my favorite Brazilian dishes. Listen to different kinds of music, so we, we try to embrace everything. That’s, that’s good to hear. Well, of course the Nigerian joll of rice is something and egusi is so good . Please, let’s not talk about food. Right. Well that is good to hear. Thank you for sharing that.
What is something exciting about you? What do you love to do in your free time. Um, a social event. Um, I do love playing volleyball. You know, I’m Brazilian Nigerian, best soccer team in Africa, best soccer team in the Latin America, but I suck at soccer. Not good at it at all. But yeah, I love reading. I love watching Netflix and mostly sleeping. Yeah. So I know you, you speak with the one language. Tell those in Brazil back home. Just say hi to them or say something. Let them know you are here on the show.
Um, yeah, sure. We can give it a try.
Awesome. Okay. Now in English, what, what did you just say? What that mean? Tell us, um, . No, I was just saying, hi guys. Um, I’m here today recording the podcast with Igho, we’re talking a little bit about my college experience, why I’m here in the US and that I hope they, they love the content that we are producing today.
That’s awesome. Thank you for the shout out that, that’s beautiful. Thank you. It’s just amazing to be multicultural and beautiful, to be multilingual, I guess. Right? And it It’s exciting. You’re multilingual too. I am like I speak three languages.
One thing, I think that as international students, we always have to talk about where we come from, which is important. So how was growing up in Brazil? How’s your experience in Nigeria and South Africa? It’s really hard for me to elaborate or make a comparison between them, especially because when I lived in, in Brazil, I was at a certain age group and then when I moved to Nigeria it is, it was a completely different age group.
And now that I’m here in the US as an. It’s also completely different. However, I do not have any complaints. I believe all my experiences made me who I am today, and I’m grateful for every single one of them. But overall, it was great, especially being as I said, being mixed living in Brazil, I got to experience my mom’s family, my mom’s culture. Being in Nigeria I got to experience my dad’s family, my dad’s culture, and I guess that brings me a little, a little bit closer to each one of them rather than being mixed and only getting to experience one side, or some people don’t even get to experience either. You know, their parents are foreigners in the third country.
But yeah, overall I’ll say it’s made me who I am today, the dedicated person I am. And I do love my roots and whenever I get a chance, I try to celebrate it as much as I can. So that’s good to hear. It’s always good to celebrate where we come from.
You are now in Delaware? Yeah. University of Delaware, I believe. Correct. Okay. So tell us a little bit about your journey to the US. Why you chose the US in the first place and the schools you’ve been in. Honestly, the US wasn’t really my first choice. Oh really? Um, I really wanted to study in England. I don’t know why it was a childhood dream, but my dad always kind of pushed me towards the US a little bit more, telling me the advantages and disadvantages. You know, I was a teenager after all. I ended up applying to many universities in the US. I was very naive in my application, especially cuz I come from Sao Paulo, which is like the fifth biggest city in the world. So I come from a very metropolitan area and when I was applying to the US I had the mindset that I’m only to go to a college in a big city.
So I was applying mostly to like colleges in New York, San Francisco. Um, Miami, et cetera, and I got into, some of them got scholarships, but the scholarships were not enough. So even if, even with the full ride, going to college and living in San Francisco where rent is, Extremely expensive. It, it wouldn’t be a viable option.
So because of that, I also ended up applying to community colleges and financially I, I, that was the best option. So that’s what I did. I went to a community college called Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa , Alabama. And after two years, um, I transferred to the University of Alabama where I got, a bachelors in computer science.
And then post graduating from Alabama. Um, I wasn’t really a hundred percent sure in regards to going into the job market or pursuing, um, a Master’s and here I am today. So I guess that’s what ended up working out. And right now I’m getting my master’s in business Analytics and information management at the University of Delaware.
Awesome, awesome. So it is interesting your journey so far from Alabama to Delaware, there’s two different states, um, which would be more similar in terms of them not being a big city. Yeah. But like I tell international students, wherever the, the scholarship is, go there, if its Alaska, go there,, you know, but i’ve known earlier, I guess University of Delaware would be a college I would have applied to because even though it’s not a big city, it’s very well centralized.
So I can take a train and go to Philadelphia, which is not far away for like 40 minutes. I’m in Baltimore an hour and a half. I’m in Washington dc two hours train. I’m in New York. So yeah, so sometimes you might not be able to get the city itself, but you, you do a little bit more of research. You might get something that’s well centralized.
I mean, I ended up in Alabama. I did not regret it. I, I love my experience there. Um, of course it has its ups and downs, but overall I guess I learned a lot and I really got to experience America. Sweet. Thank you for sharing that. So admist all the time you’ve spent now in America, I don’t know, say four or five years?
Four years. Four years, okay. And, In four years, you’ve gotten your, associate degree, you’ve gotten your bachelor’s degree, and now you’re doing your master’s degree. That’s a huge accomplishment kudos to you because not I appreciate it. Um, in regards to that, I would say thank you. And I also have to acknowledge that it wasn’t only me.
I did also get support, uh, from my parents, from my friends, from people like you who are here to support me emotionally. Uh, you know, I think it’s an important aspect for international students coming to America is networking with people who understand, um, their experience or who have gone through something similar.
I was able to get that support from a lot of people and that’s, that’s why I’m here today, so That’s awesome. Well, we’ll go on short break now. When we comeback from the short break we still have Obi here and he’ll tell us more about his experiences and his plan for the future. We’ll be right back.
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Hi everybody. Welcome back for the short break. I still have my very good friend here. Mr. Obi Bruno Brazilian, Nigerian, um, an amazing human being. Thank you so much for your time.
We know that International students, they make up quite a number of, of population here in the universities in America, and everyone wants to come here in the first place.
I don’t know why everyone chooses America. It’s not always easy, you know, to be here, not to have family, not to have friends, making new connections again. So what are the obstacles you faced being here as an international student in America? Obstacles. Oh wow. Um, there are many, not gonna lie. I’m going to be honest.
being international, I feel like there’s a lot of stuff you go through in terms of your, you’re very far away from home, so I feel like that’s one, you know, when you’re in college and it’s spring break and everybody’s going to their respective household, they’re moving back to their state to spend Thanksgiving with their family or Christmas, and that’s not always an option for you.
Financially I think that’s also one of the biggest obstacles as, as an international student. Uh, the job market when you’re applying for jobs and most of them did not hire non-citizens or non-residents. So I feel like that’s something you have to face and you have to be mentally prepared for. Cuz while you are American colleagues are applying to, I don’t know, 30 internships, you’re applying to a hundred.
Yeah, I, there are many others, but again those are obstacles, but they don’t necessarily impede you from, from thriving. And as I said, it’s always important to connect to people who have gone through similar experiences so that they can guide you and let you know, um, what they did right, what they did wrong. And you just need to be self-aware that sometimes some of those impediment are, are, they’re not your fault.
But yeah, you just need to keep moving forward and take advantage of the situation the best you can without just focusing on the things that are stopping you from reaching your go. So, For example, getting my master’s wasn’t a plan of mine. And during my undergrad, I never had in mind that I would be getting a master’s.
So I did apply for a job or for many jobs when I graduated from college and I got a job in North Carolina. However, there was an issue with my O P T application. Um, I think there’s a timeline between you and. D s O in order for it to be approved. And that wasn’t very well communicated with me. And I think there was a one a day difference between me and the permitted date allowed for my D s O.
And because of that, it got denied. However, even though I got the job, I was smart enough to have a Plan B in motion in which I applied to the University of Delaware, George Washington University of. And financially, Delaware was the best option for me. So I’m here, but things work out, so you just gotta get, keep moving forward.
Yeah, I agree that things definitely do work out, you know, when you keep being persistent. You just do what you never give up. You know, it’s always tends to work at, at the end of the day, look at our friends that are done with school. Most of them they earn six figures now, you know, you have to see through for you to be able to enjoy the benefit. I always say that to friends, see it through and enjoy the benefits.
But when you were back home in Brazil, did you have knowledge of these obstacles, of these difficulties that people do face studying in America? No, not at all. I didn’t know there were so many. Of course, we were always aware that being far away from home, I guess that was the only obstacle that I was self-aware about.
The fact that I, I wasn’t going to be able to see my parents and I was. Fine with that because I was already used to it since I was already moving a lot as a child and it wasn’t with both of my parents, um, at the same time. So I think that was the only thing I, I was aware of. I didn’t know there were going to be so many obstacles in terms of work.
Whether post-graduation or before, you know, while you’re pursuing your, your degree. Um, so many restrictions in terms of how many classes you can take if it’s online, if it’s offline. There are just so many little things that you only get to learn when you’re here actually having that college experience.
So, yeah, no. Oh, I wasn’t aware at all. I came here as an 18 years old. Really excited to go to college. Very naive. But yeah, well look at you now, it’s paid off for you. So this is why I started this igowithigho podcast to give a platform for people like me and yourself to share our stories for those back home intending to come to know that, hey, it is good to be here, but there are different limitations and different obstacles you have to jump over when you are here to make sure that you can see yourself through college, because it’s always gonna be difficult along the way when you are here as an international student, limitations, you said the restrictions are a lot, or when you keep pushing, keep making connections, then you end up succeeding.
correct. It’s a lot, but you get through and you learn from others, and I guess that’s life. You know? It doesn’t matter whether you’re here, whether you’re back home, you’re still gonna have obstacles. They’re just gonna be different. So it’s whether you really wanna or you’re willing to face them. Um, so yeah, I guess that’s a, a personal question, a personal answer, but it’s worth it.
It’s worth it if you’re willing to try. Yeah, I agree with you as well too, but, okay. So on the brighter side, let’s leave the challenges and look at the achievements. So, what achievements are you most proud of or achievements in you’ve, you’re most proud of being here in the us? I’d say just like the obstacles, sorry, don’t mean to go back to those, but like the obstacles, it’s like the little things.
That adds up in terms of achievements as well. So it’s getting GPA over 3.5. You know, it’s graduating with honor, it’s, it’s where we actually met Phi Theta Kappa. So I was the president for my chapter and I was the first international student to actually be the president. And we got the highest rank out of all, every single chapter in the past 40 years.
So we were top 100. We got nominations for our honors in action research, our college project. So that’s also an achievement that I’m proud of, being able to represent US international students and something like that. Being able to go to college and, although financially it’s stressful, but being financially aware, so here at the University of Delaware, I work as a graduate assistant, so my college is paid for, housing is paid for. I get a salary, health insurance is paid for. So that’s also something I’m proud of. It’s something I had to work for. I’m also proud of the people I’ve met. They have made me better, a better person, so that’s an achievement. Getting to to choose my friends, not only my friends, but but my family, you know, cuz my family’s so far away. Yeah, I’d say those things came to mind right now, but I’m sure there are many others. Well, congratulations on the many achievements. You know, these are the things that we see and look at, when we remember, keeps us going to achieve hope to achieve at the end of the day. So congratulations on all your achievement.
All right, so thank you for sharing that. For everyone that’s listening to you right now from Brazil that want to come and study in America, you know, or go to the same process you’ve gone through and they want to come here, understand, you know, go to school and and be a good version of themself, what do you have to tell them?
No, I would say do your research. I’d say don’t focus too much on universities that have like that, that are very well known. I’m not saying don’t try. Yes, if you wanna go to Harvard, do it. But don’t focus just on those universities on or don’t narrow your options to a specific location. Um, I would say there is the Brazilian Student Association out there, so they can also help you specifically if you want help from other Brazilians who are actually studying here. Um, they are a lot of Brazilians studying in the US , so there are many of us here who are willing to help those that want to come and guide them through their application, their documentation and stuff like that. But overall, I’ll say, do your research, reach out network, talk to people who have been here, who are from your city or from a city around you or your region of the country.
And yeah. And come here with an open mind. That’s a good one. Come here with an open mind cuz that always helps . But what I’ll say is this, please don’t think that there’s dollars of the streets of America. There’s no dollars anywhere. You have to work for your money. That’s an international student. You can only work on campus.
So there’s limitations to how much you can earn in a week. I think you’re coming here to earn thousands in a week. Uh, I’m sorry to say it’s not possible somewhat until you are done with school and get a good full-time job. Yeah. And obviously you do earn more here, but you also spend more. True things are not cheap.
I remember my first semester of college when we had to buy textbooks and like my math textbook was $200 and that was four years ago. I’m pretty sure due to inflation, things have gone up. But I was like, oh my God, a book 200. That’s crazy. Did you ever do this? So when I came here, I always converted the money back to Nara.
Did you do that? I used to do that. Um, my friends used to joke, oh my God, you’re making money, blah, blah, blah. I’m like, yeah, I make money, but I also spend money. Right. This is the, this is a silly example. I used to give my friends. Do you know how much deodorant is in America? It’s like seven, $8. If I, if I convert that money to Brazilian Hays, the equivalent, I can buy like four or five deodorant in Brazil, right?
Of the same trend, I guess not right now. Cuz inflation really went up, but like back then mm-hmm. and I was like, yeah, see I make more, but I spend more on. It’s crazy, dude. The money you make and the money you spend. I wanna thank you for being here today Obi before you go I have a question for you, future plans.
Okay. And a shout out to anyone you want to give a shout out to. Well, as you learned from my story today is that my plans don’t always work according. Well, , I think that’s something I’ve learned from the past four years. Stop planning so much. I was planning on going to a big city. I went to Alabama, , you know, I was planning on working after college.
I’m getting my masters. I plan on going to the US to England, and I’m here in America. So, In terms of plans, I don’t really have a set plan right now. My plan is to potentially get a full-time job where I don’t know, is it in America? I have no idea. Could I go back to Brazil? It’s a possibility. Could I go to Europe?
You never know. So I’m keeping my options open and I’m exploring everything that time allows me to, and we’ll see where I’ll end up when I, when I’m finished here. Yeah. And in terms of shout out, Um, I’d like to shout out to my parents and my family, both in Brazil and Nigeria. I taught my friends who supported me, my friends back at the University of Alabama, whom I miss a lot, my advisors, and yeah, I’ll leave it at that.
We’ll, we’ll narrow it to those for now. Okay. Well, Obi, thank you so much for honoring my invitation. It was so good to have you on the show. Thank you. Thank you. And again, please, you can follow OB on social media. What’s your handle or your Twitter? It’s Obi Bruno. Okay. Uh, just that . Well, I’ll It’ll be on, sorry.
Yeah, it’ll be on this episode, @Obibruno. So do well to follow him on Instagram. I know he’ll be willing to answer the questions you might have for him. Of course, he’s, he’ll be willing to be a resource for you as well if you do. Truly yes. Bring the questions. I’d love to help you guys. Awesome, Obi. Thank you so much.
Have a beautiful day. Thank you. You too Igho.. And also you all out there. Please be safe. It is cold here, it is raining in California and there’s tornado over in some parts, so please be safe out there. Take care yourself and I’ll see you on the next episode. Thank you so much everybody.