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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Kafui Alomenu is finishing his first semester as a PSU grad student

  • Each Thanksgiving, people in the United States think about what they have that they’re thankful for. That includes people like Kafui Alomenu, an international student from Ghana who is winding up his first semester as a graduate student in technology at Pittsburg State University.

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  • Each Thanksgiving, people in the United States think about what they have that they’re thankful for. That includes people like Kafui Alomenu, an international student from Ghana who is winding up his first semester as a graduate student in technology at Pittsburg State University.
    Alomenu, 29, is one of 494 international students from 41 countries enrolled at Pitt State, making up 6.7 percent of the university’s 7,275 member student body. A former advertising specialist in Ghana’s capital city of Kumasi, which has about 1.5 million inhabitants, Alomenu said had reservations about his decision to travel thousands of miles to live in Kansas for two years.
    “They were not too enthused about it because I was not going to be living with my brother,” he said of his brother, Delanyo, who lives in New York. “They didn’t think living on my own was a good idea, but we talked about it, and since I’m getting a degree they supported that.”
    Adjusting from a bustling metropolis in a tropical climate to life in rural Kansas took time, Alomenu said. The morning commute first to university or to work often took at least two hours, meaning that he often left his house at 6 a.m. just to make it to work by 8. Being able to get across town in 15 minutes or less is a trait that has its advantages, he said.
    “I think I like it,” Alomenu said with a confident nod. “It is way faster there. There are a lot more people packed in. Here it is broader and less packed, and life is much more relaxed.”
    An educated man, Alomenu earned his bachelor’s degree in publishing at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. After college, he worked as a project manager for a marketing firm, making sure projects met their requirements and meeting with clients. But he wanted more, and as he was searching for post-graduate opportunities online he came across Pittsburg State University. He knew he wanted to study in the United States because of the freedom U.S. universities offer in their curriculums.
    “You get to plan your program and choose the courses you want to do,” he said. “In Ghana, the professors plan the programs for you and there is a strict schedule. Also, the classes are much smaller. The smallest I had back home was 70 students. Here, classes are 20 to 25 students.”
    So Alomenu left his parents and four siblings behind in Kumasi to pursue his master’s degree in technology management in Pittsburg. When he first arrived, Alomenu, like many travelers, had some anxiety about his new home.
    “I worried about leaving my family and friends behind, and wondered if I would make enough friends to stay here for the duration of my course work,” Alomenu, who always has a welcoming smile on his face, said. “Loneliness is crazy, but in the past five months I’ve had no problems. Everybody here helps you, listens to you and tries to make life more comfortable for you.”
    Page 2 of 2 - It helps that Alomenu has an outgoing personality. He said he got involved in Student Government Association and helps out with clean-ups and speaks to classes about diversity issues. He also attends monthly international gatherings, and is on several diversity committees.
    “It opens up the door to a lot of people and it helps to learn the way people work,” Alomenu said. “I’m used to Ghanaians back home, and I want to meet new people here. I love to talk to people. And it’s just fun.”
    When he has completed his master’s degree, Alomenu said he pursue his doctorate in technology so that he can return to Kumasi and teach university-level technology. If he could, Alomenu said he wouldn’t mind doing that here.
    “I wish Pitt State had degrees beyond the master’s level so I could get my Ph.D. here,” he said.
    Kafui Alomenu, graduate student in technology
    Age: 29
    Country: Ghana
    Hometown: Kumasi
    Metro population: Approximately 1.5 million
    Native language: Ewe
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