Small has big ap­peal

Grad­u­ates at­tracted to CBU be­cause of smaller classes, pop­u­la­tion size

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY EL­IZ­A­BETH PAT­TER­SON CAPE BRETON POST

While many grad­u­ates head to the big city af­ter grad­u­a­tion, brother and sis­ter Louis and Louisa Esangbedo went in the op­po­site di­rec­tion.

And nei­ther re­grets their de­ci­sion.

The two, who both grad­u­ated from Cape Breton Univer­sity on Satur­day, come from La­gos, Nige­ria, the largest city in Africa which Louisa es­ti­mates has a pop­u­la­tion of 17 mil­lion while Louis says the coun­try of Nige­ria has a pop­u­la­tion of 160 mil­lion liv­ing in a land area the size of Que­bec.

It was class size that first at­tracted Louisa to CBU.

“I was at­tracted to the small class sizes at Cape Breton Univer­sity and Cape Breton Univer­sity is ac­tu­ally one of the few schools in Canada that of­fer pub­lic health as an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree in an ac­cred­ited pro­gram so that was a ma­jor rea­son,” says Louisa, 20, who ar­rived here when she was only 17. “Then the pic­tures we saw, I saw a sense of com­mu­nity and I re­ally like that. I’m from the largest city in Nige­ria with 17 mil­lion peo­ple and then com­ing here was like whoa! Fresh air! So that was good.”

Louisa says she didn’t have a prob­lem with her tran­si­tion to Canada be­cause ev­ery­one here was so sup­port­ive. A few months later, her brother Louis also ar­rived at Cape Breton Univer­sity from Ghana to study business and even­tu­ally their sis­ter Lois came as well. Louis, 21, says he ar­rived in Jan­uary 2014, and it took a while to set­tle into Cape Breton life.

“When I came here it was a bit of a shock — it was very dif­fer­ent from what I’m used to,” he said. “But within time I fell in love with the Cape. I told my sis­ter I don’t want to leave the Cape af­ter I grad­u­ate — I want to work here and I want to live here. I re­cently got a job here in Syd­ney and I al­ready got an apart­ment here in Syd­ney so I plan to make this my home be­cause the peo­ple here won me over.

“There is such kind­ness in Cape Breton. Although it is dif­fer­ent from home, this is my home now.”

Louisa ad­dressed the grad­u­at­ing class of more than 680 at Satur­day’s con­vo­ca­tion at the Canada Games Com­plex as vale­dic­to­rian and she cred­its CBU for help­ing her to suc­ceed as a per­son.

“Look­ing back at who I was when I came here and who I am right now, I feel like I can take on the world any­time be­cause we were pro­vided with every­thing we need to know for go­ing into the world, how to pre­pare for in­ter­views, how to han­dle pub­lic speak­ing, these are things I could never do be­fore I came here so I feel more con­fi­dent and with con­fi­dence you can do any­thing you want.”

Louisa will be re­main­ing in Cape Breton as well and like her brother al­ready has a job, work­ing with small busi­nesses through Ven­ture For Canada. Be­cause her sib­lings are also in Cape Breton, she says it has helped them feel right at home here and for that she’s grate­ful.

“I never re­ally missed home be­cause I have made Cape Breton my home so it’s re­ally cool.”

Jus­tine Wil­liamson of the duo Tracy and Martina also grad­u­ated on Satur­day. She re­ceived a bach­e­lor arts in com­mu­nity stud­ies, and says while it took awhile for her to de­cide what she wanted to study, she’s ap­pre­cia­tive of what CBU of­fered.

“I think when you’re fresh out of high school it can be very in­tim­i­dat­ing to know what you want to do with the rest of your life so I re­ally did this at my own pace and kind of tried dif­fer­ent things, switched ma­jors, switched pro­grams and I re­ally ended up lik­ing the BACS pro­gram be­cause of the work term that they of­fer,” she said, adding she’s now a dig­i­tal creator with CBC and work­ing on a pi­lot fea­tur­ing the well-known char­ac­ters for the net­work.

EL­IZ­A­BETH PAT­TER­SON/CAPE BRETON POST

Sis­ter and brother Louisa and Louis Esangbedo from Nige­ria grad­u­ated Satur­day from Cape Breton Univer­sity and both en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence so much, they’re re­main­ing here.

Wil­liamson

Gil­lis

Blair

MacIsaac

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