A university Don, Dr. Emmanuel Nweke Okafor has underscored the need for hard work and determination as road-maps to achieving meaningful life’s goals. In a chat with Stadt newspaper, the University Lecturer disclosed (among other things) that admission requirements for Siam University, Thailand are achievable for prospective candidates willing and able to follow the admission rules. Dr. Okafor insisted that hardness of the roads to the University is only in terms of funds and the rigours in accesses to relevant travelling documents subject to the needs of the candidates. Below are the details of the informative chat.
Good afternoon, Dr. Stadt newspaper is glad that you honoured our invitation for this chat. What are your names and what are you doing in Thailand?
I am Dr. Emmanuel Nweke Okafor. I am currently a lecturer at Siam University, Bangkok, Thailand.
For the sake of our teaming readers and the youths who are rapidly losing hope, what inspired you to where you are now, a lecturer in a Thailand’s University?
Well, it is a long story and a rough ride until now. Whatever I have achieved has been through sweat, blood and countless sleepless nights. I had exceptional experiences growing up, my parents struggled to contribute to my needs as a child. In general, I considered myself a product fortune and grace that unfolded the bundles of possibilities I am representing. It is not easy!
As a Lecturer at Siam University, Bangkok, what are your challenges as a Nigerian?
It is a challenging experience of positive things. First of all, it is good to recognize the wonderful panoramic mixture of culture and tolerance within the Thai society. For me, it has been wonderful. In fact, to me, it is literarily the best place I can be any day, any time. As a lecturer, I have witnessed the diversities in the best forms. Siam University is a melting point of cultures and peoples, the Asians, Americans, Africans and Europeans. Here, different cultural ideologies are at play in fashions that are continuously productive. The experiences are amazing.
Of course, nothing is perfect. There are always the other sides of everything. Criticisms and misconceptions are inevitable components of this other sides. You know, the students from different continents want to be treated in a certain way, but the rule of law prevails. You are ostensibly prone to criticism if you are not partisan in decisions as every student seeks special considerations.
Dr. E. N. Okafor
In fact, in a metropolitan atmosphere like our university, it is in every way impossible to please everyone. To me what is important is that I am contented, I enjoy what I am doing.
How easy is it for a Nigerian dreaming of studying at Siam University, Bangkok, and for a lecturer keen to leave for greener pastures to come over?
Well, it is hard but not impossible for anyone to come over here. The hardness of the roads is only in terms of funds and the rigours in accesses to relevant travelling documents subject to the needs of the prospective candidates. For a lot reasons, it is in general terms harder for many Nigerians and indeed Africans to weather the storms of financial obligations. The other sides of the problems are that those who have money do not usually have proper information. Ironically, there are those who have information but no money, such is life.
So, you see how hard it is for the ordinary Joe to leave Nigeria to any country. The naira exchange rates to international currencies are progressively rising beyond common access. The situation evidently affects those hoping to achieve their dreams outside the shores. Generally, it is a hard thing to do, but easier if you have the information and sponsorship.
As you said the roads to Siam University, Bangkok are difficult but not impossible, what help can you offer anyone willing and planning to come?
First of all, if someone is interested in attending the University, such a person basically needs proper information in respect of the University’s admission policies, the all-necessary things for fulfilment of the admission’s requirements. Again, such an individual should seek information and understand visa procedures, availability of scholarship opportunities or financial aid.
Additionally, it is essential that the prospective candidate(s) should endeavour to connect with current students or alumni for insights and tips on navigating the processes. Furthermore, Thailand is a country where the laws are supreme. The person must learn and act within the stipulations of the laws of the land, and equally that of the academic environment. Respect for teachers or academic instructors cannot be over-emphasized.
On the basis of your wealth of experiences in the Asian university what advice do have for Nigerians who have been unable to manage the nation’s diversity?
The Kingdom of Thailand is dubbed the land of smiles. It is a country steeped in rich, diverse but organized cultural heritage. It is worthy of note to understand that the people of Thailand are conservative and patient; they are calm and collected, and do not talk too much but allow things flow naturally. To smile in the land of smiles, just maintain your normal African or Nigerian values, norms, and culture of respect, honesty, and integrity.
Thank you so much for this delightful encounter. I am grateful.