Celebrating International Education Week at Front Range Community College
This article was originally published on the Colorado Community College System website.
Victor Oluniyi is embracing opportunity.
“Last year, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” he said. “I was literally in a new country, trying to figure out the next thing for me.”
Thanks to Front Range Community College (FRCC), Oluniyi is finding new direction. After taking a few classes this past summer, the international student from Nigeria is ready to make the most of his college experience.
“What drew me to Front Range was being in an environment where we have each other’s back,” Oluniyi said. “I’ve met some of the kindest, sweetest people.”
‘I Can Do More’
Like a lot of international students, world-class higher education opportunities brought Oluniyi to the United States. His mother was accepted into Colorado State University’s doctoral program in construction management and brought along Oluniyi and his three brothers.
Oluniyi spent the next six months applying for student visa status, listening to audiobooks to keep up his academic interests. When he was finally cleared to begin school, he opted for FRCC for its strong value and close-knit culture.
“The people in my classes are genuinely so cool—they’re very interactive,” he explained.
“We talk in class, out of class, we study together. That’s the kind of community I’m talking about.”
This support has been invaluable as Oluniyi navigates a new culture and education system. Leaning on FRCC tutors, he quickly adapted to college-level work and notched two A’s this summer.
“If not for the academic student center, which I literally had to go to 24/7, I wouldn’t have done as well as I did,” he said, recalling staff who helped him write a five-page essay in less than two days. “It was a great experience, because if I can do that, I’m sure I can do more.”
Academic advisors are also helping Oluniyi hone his career interests. He’s mulling architecture, like his father, or following in his mother’s footsteps in construction. Ultimately, he hopes to become a real estate agent and manage his own clientele.
“The education is exceptional, honestly,” he said. Staff and instructors “look forward to you being ready for the workforce.”
‘Don’t Hold Back’
As he begins a new life in Colorado, every dollar counts for Oluniyi. International students don’t qualify for state or federal financial aid, so Oluniyi would have to pay his own way, his advisor informed him.
“Right then and there, I started searching everywhere I could find scholarships,” he said. He came across opportunities through the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges and put together an application. “It took me such a long time. The essay had to be so good because I only have one shot at it.”
His hard work paid off, earning him a scholarship from the Stone Family Foundation for the upcoming semester. Oluniyi says he feels blessed.
“When I got the scholarship, it was pretty exciting,” he said. “It’s cut down on a lot of expenses. Now my mom’s even applying for scholarships. She’s like, ‘Man, I wish I had a Stone scholarship like my boy!’”
With the fall semester underway, Oluniyi is ready to continue his success. He encourages more international students to consider starting at a community college.
“Don’t hold back on applying. With every opportunity that comes your way, make sure to embrace it. Your academic journey is going to be great,” he said.
If you are interested in applying for or funding scholarships for Colorado Community College System students, please visit the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges website.