Women from Sub-Saharan Africa participating in the Fulbright Foreign Student Program have gathered this week in Austin to participate in a women’s leadership seminar.
The seminar was designed to teach the women in the program how they can use the knowledge they gained in the U.S. to better their communities and themselves when they return to their homes. Participants arrived in Austin on Tuesday and the seminar will continue through Sunday.
Nomoa Mazwai is a South African participant in the program and has been studying economics at Fordham University. She plans to work in education when she returns home.
"It’s been really great getting to meet other people from the same area,” Mazwai said. “I can come here and learn all I want and try to teach people in the U.S. about Africa, but only Africans can build up our continent. It’s great to meet these people and see how we can all do things through various organizations.”
The Fulbright Foreign Student Program brings approximately 1,700 foreign students to the United States every year to study for one year or longer. The program was designed to foster knowledge and understanding of American culture and of other cultures in the U.S. The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is hosting the seminar at the University of Texas.
Participants in the seminar will meet with local businesswomen and leaders. They will also participate in workshops to help prepare them for what they want to do upon returning to their homes.
Pauline Ohigau is from Nigeria and has been studying journalism and communication at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She will return to her position as a lecturer in communications at the University of Port Harcourt.
“I’ve only been here for one day and I’m already getting so much out of it,” Ohiagu said. “It’s making me act the question that I should have thought of before. What am I going to that’s different when I get home? What exactly do I want?”
On Thursday, the men from Sub-Saharan Africa in the Fulbright program will join the women to participate in a re-entry program to prepare for the return to their home countries.