By Emma Stratton, Student Writer


Name: Belosan Jekale
Major: Computer Information Science
Year: Junior
Home Country: Ethiopia


How has your Messiah experience been?


Good, I really like it here. It wasn’t much of a change coming here because I attended a Christian boarding school before coming here. It was a very similar experience so it was an easy transition from one school to the next.


Is the overall culture here different than home?


Definitely, I have been in the states for almost five years now. It is kind of blurry now… I forget some things because I haven’t lived back home in a while. A couple of the culture shocks I have experienced are the environment and the people.


Was this part of your transition hard for you?


Right now, no. When I first moved here, yes. It was hard to make friends… I could speak English and communicate with people, but it was very different than back home. The way you talk to people is different, back home… we don’t make eye contact when you talk to them. Especially when the person you are speaking to is older than you. That is the culture I grew up in, it was disrespectful to stare a person down. So I didn’t know how to talk to people initially because they thought I was being awkward. Over time, I got used to it. Classes were also taught differently there. I grew up with my class. You had the same people in all of your classes and always had the same professors.


When you think of diversity on Messiah’s campus, what is one way you think our campus could develop?


Having more faculty and staff that are of color because that really helped grow diversity in this space. I know Messiah is trying to work diversity into this space, but I think it could be really beneficial to our campus if we could hire more diverse employees.


Why did you pick your major?


I first wanted to study law, but that would not go well with what I want to do with my life. I want to go back home after finishing school and the law is really different back home. I would not be able to take what I learned here and go take it back home; I would have to start all over. My cousin’s husband is a software engineer and he seemed like he was living life to the fullest. So I took a computer science class my senior year, out of curiosity. It was interesting and I liked it a lot, and here I am.


Have you had other family members study in the states and return home?


Yes, my sister. She came to Messiah College and graduated two years ago. She is back home now. She likes it a lot better back home than she does here because we have family there. She also loves our culture back home. She also is passionate about helping the economy and people there.


Do you desire to go back to Ethiopia after school?


Yes, I do want to go back. Similarly, I eventually want to go back, but I want to build my experiences here to make it easier when I return.


What is one fun fact about yourself?


I grew up in three different countries on three different continents. I was born in Norway which is in Europe and lived there for five years. Then I moved to Ethiopia, Africa and lived there for eleven years. Lastly, I moved here, to the United States.