Small has big appeal
Graduates attracted to CBU because of smaller classes, population size
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.
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.