A majority of NCC’s student population is made up of local, traditionally aged, Iowa residents. Many individuals are surprised to hear that students also travel from across the world to attend programs offered in our corner of Iowa. They are also surprised to hear that a fair percentage of students are outside of the traditional college age (18–22). The healthcare programs at NCC are very diverse in regards to students’ place of origin, ethnicity, and age. Each student’s journey to their degree is very different, but all have a common destination: success.
Eugene Yeboah’s journey begins with a trip from the other side of the world.
Eugene is a 2019 alumnus of the Associate Degree Nursing program. His journey to NCC was not a smooth, paved road. Instead, it resembled a winding trail in which the destination was uncertain. It all began in Ghana, Africa, during high school, when the idea of studying abroad in the United States popped into Eugene’s head.
Eugene was on track to graduate from high school in May of 2013. All five of his older siblings had continued their education at local colleges in Ghana. Eugene wanted something more and had the desire to learn about a different part of the world. He discussed the possibilities with his high school counselor and ended up submitting an international student application to various colleges in Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, and Iowa.
The international student admission process is very time consuming and expensive. Because of the various fees, interviews, extra tests, and plethora of paperwork, Eugene was almost ready to give up and pursue a degree at a local college. However, he decided to push through, took his SAT, and waited for responses. Eugene remembers how long the entire process took and how strenuous it was. “It took me almost three years to get to college. Many of my high school classmates were already sophomores or juniors. Back home, if you didn’t go to school it was either because your parents didn’t have money or you didn’t pass admission tests. The process to come to the U.S. is so hard many people think it’s a joke or you won’t make it. Several people doubted me and assumed I would give up.”
Eugene finally began to receive acceptance letters from various U.S. colleges. He made the decision to attend Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, because a Ghanaian from his high school had attended there, the class sizes were small, and Waverly had the small town atmosphere he was looking for. He was excited to be a Business student in the United States after many years of waiting.
Eugene began at Wartburg in the spring of 2016. Becoming more accustomed to English, learning the names of American foods, missing his family back home, and realizing he chose one of the states with the coldest winter climates were initial difficulties for Eugene. A larger obstacle became apparent when Eugene realized Business was not his passion.
Recognizing that he had a passion to bring a useful skill back to his community, Eugene began researching a career in nursing. Northwest Iowa Community College came up in an online search for having a step-by-step Nursing program. Eugene saw a huge benefit in completing his nursing education one step at a time, so he applied to NCC.
The Admissions staff at NCC were very responsive, and by August 2016, Eugene was beginning a new journey as a Nursing student at NCC. Eugene remembers how supportive everyone was during his transition from Wartburg to NCC. “The staff and faculty were so helpful with everything, from assisting me with admission steps to helping me find an apartment.” The tuition rates also played a role in Eugene’s choice. As an international student, he did not qualify for federal financial aid or scholarships, so affordable tuition rates were very important to him.
As Eugene progressed through his nursing studies, he realized this was the right career path for him. The more content he learned, the more confident he felt with his decision. Eugene credits one of his nursing instructors, Debra Kleinwolterink, for being his motivation to keep pushing through his coursework.
“The connections with the staff & faculty are my favorite part about NCC. At other colleges, you don’t always get that personal connection where you feel comfortable stopping in to ask a question or talk to someone, but at NCC you do.” A few of Eugene’s favorite parts about the Nursing program were the ability to complete clinical and preceptorship rotations at local hospitals and nursing homes and working in the simulation lab on campus.
Eugene’s journey with NCC ends with him graduating with his Associate Degree in Nursing, but his overall journey is far from over. He plans to get a job as a Registered Nurse and continue his education towards a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, although he hopes to do that outside of Iowa (not only to escape the cold winters, but also to gain further exposure to other regions of the U.S.). Eugene’s long-term goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner or Medical Doctor.
Ultimately, Eugene would like to end up right back where he started this journey—home in Ghana, Africa, to help those in remote areas with sparse access to healthcare.
To find out more call 800-352-4907, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at nwicc.edu. At NCC – Your Success is Our Story!