L-R: Tolulope Adesoye, Mary-Ann Aliu, Daniel Ohaegbu, Elizabeth Iwunwa
A group of former UPEI students are pooling money together to make sure international students on the Island don’t struggle financially.
Mary-Ann Aliu, Daniel Ohaegbu, Tolulope Adesoye and Elizabeth Iwunwa, all from Nigeria, have worked towards creating the Diaspora Alumni Scholarship fund.
Although they didn’t struggle financially while at school, they understand it’s an issue in PEI’s international community.
“We’re just trying to fill the gap the best way we can based on our experiences and people around us,” Aliu told the Cadre.
“I was very privileged to go through my university without having unpaid fees.”
With the strain of the ongoing pandemic, international students need financial aid more than ever, Iwunwa said.
“The situation now compared to when I was in school is more complex and dire.”
Other than having financial challenges at school, international students in PEI face other problems, Ohaegbu said.
“Challenges with integrating into the community, building professional networks and employment.”
Alienation is one of the things that can cause international students to not get the best out of their experience or feel their time at school was not worth it, Iwunwa said.
Aliu said the group plans to meet the needs of international students with more than financial aid for school.
“The scholarship is just one facet of our goals.”
The minimum requirement to apply for the fund is to not be on academic probation.
“By not being on academic probation, it means you’re trying your best and working hard,” Aliu said.
Being in a position to give back means a lot, Adesoye said.
“When I was in UPEI, I always wanted to do more, but I just couldn’t because I was in school and couldn’t work as much to help others,“ she said.
“I feel very excited for the people or person [students] that will be getting funding.”
Aliu said she hopes their gesture will inspire international students and alumni to give back to the community.
To apply for funding, students must be enrolled at Holland College or UPEI and fill out this form.
For donations and other inquiries about the group, they can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications will close on Feb. 5.