Susan Tuller, Country Consular Coordinator, United States Mission in Nigeria, on Tuesday said that no fewer than 13,000 Nigerian students were currently studying in the United States of America.
She said this to justify the central role that higher education had continued to play in bilateral relations of both countries during the 2021 Student Visa Day celebration which held at the U.S. Consulate in Lagos.
The coordinator who hosted successful student visa applicants and their parents, also presented them their visas.
“Currently, there are over 13,000 Nigerian students – and soon, a few more, studying in the United States.
“These amazing students being celebrated today represent thousands more Nigerians who are already studying in the United States or who will start this summer.
“While student visa numbers have gone down worldwide due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, student numbers from Nigeria were up by 2.5 per cent for the 2019/2020 school year, the eighth year in a row the percentage has increased, ” she said.
According to Tuller, international students are an important part of the U.S. educational experience.
She said that the U.S. Government is dedicated to supporting international students who wish to study in the country, through the Education USA Programme and ensuring that students could apply for student visas in time to start their studies.
Tuller said that it was exciting to welcome students as universities and colleges started to announce their plans for fall, many of which entailed full residential experience after a year in which most university students studied online.
She noted that the pandemic had impacted consular operations, reducing the overall number of applicants that could be scheduled, but the mission continued to prioritise student visa applicants.
“Nigeria sends more students to American colleges and universities than any other country in Africa and is the 11th largest source worldwide of international students to the United States.
“Our EducationUSA Advising Centers in Lagos, Ibadan, Calabar and Abuja are working to make the U.S. education more accessible to Nigerian students.”
According to Tuller, Education USA prepares students for academic life in the U.S. by providing assistance to them with a variety of topics.
“The U.S. has a first-class education system that prepares students to pursue careers all over the world.
“Whether helping students find a school that is their “perfect fit,” or advising on how to submit competitive applications, EducationUSA serves as an indispensable source of accurate and timely information for students throughout Nigeria,” she said.
One of the student visa recipients, Patience Aborisade told NAN that the opportunity to study in the U.S. would give her the experience and exposure needed to give back to her community.
Aborisade, 25, said she intended to pursue a masters degree in Special Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“The experience I have gained while working with children with special needs in Nigeria has shown me the limitations we have in the country in that regard.
“I am excited and hope that my research in Special Education will be able to influence Nigeria’s educational policy for people with special needs.
“We need to start making significant decisions with them in mind,” she said.
Also, Segun Olapade who will be studying toward obtaining a Doctorate degree in Chemistry at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, planned to apply the knowledge acquired to improve solar energy in Nigeria.
“Nigeria has sufficient sunlight which can be converted into renewable solar energy. We have not been tapping into this and that will be the major drive of my academic studies,” he said.(NAN)