Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen!
Congratulations to all of you who have been selected to attend U.S. colleges and universities for the 2017-18 academic session. Many of you in this room have received scholarships to attend prestigious universities like Howard University, Syracuse University, Drexel University, University of Wisconsin in Madison, University of Texas at Dallas, Wellesley College, and Rochester Institute of Technology to pursue a variety of majors, including engineering, public health, computer science, business, chemistry, and economics both at undergraduate and graduate levels.
I would like to recognize our EducationUSA Advising Center here in Lagos, which has helped thousands of young Nigerians achieve their dreams to study in the United States. This year alone, students within the Lagos Consulate District have received numerous scholarships from several U.S. universities totaling over $2 million and more are still trickling in by the day through the wonderful work of our EducationUSA advisors.
Of particular importance to me today is that seven Nigerian students who received financial aid through our EducationUSA Opportunity Fund were granted full scholarships by various U.S. universities. These seven students had their up-front costs of obtaining U.S. admission, including testing, application fees, and airfare covered by the EducationUSA Opportunity Fund. Five of them received funding for their Ph.D studies while the other two will be pursuing undergraduate studies in America. I am confident you will be the next generation of leaders and scholars, scientists and artists, ensuring the continuity of Nigeria’s remarkable input in the global community.
According to the latest Institute of International Education’s Open Doors report, Nigeria has experienced a remarkable increase in the number of students pursuing higher education in the United States. About 10,674 Nigerians are studying at more than 730 colleges and universities in the United States, making Nigeria the leading source of African students in the United States. It is also noteworthy that Nigeria ranks as the 14th nation worldwide with the most students in the United States.
I am pleased to open this orientation program, which will give you some crucial information on studying in the United States. Please take advantage of this opportunity that will prepare you to make the most of the U.S. educational experience. You will receive a wide range of practical advice about U.S. culture and educational expectations to set you up for success, such as building positive relationships with professors and peers, time management, and balancing course workloads with a strong social and community life.
As you depart for the U.S. in the next few days, remember that you are going to be representing your country to many people who may never have met an African or a Nigerian before. I urge you to be exceptional ambassadors for Nigeria and to take seriously your responsibilities to be good citizens and scholars, just as I wish you great success in your chosen academic fields and a fulfilling experience in the United States of America.