International student Anni Joy Tapkida sat down with Savannah State University President Cheryl D. Dozier, DSW, to compare passports, so to speak. Tapkida, a junior management major, is from Jos, Nigeria. She has traveled to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, the U.K. and Canada — in addition to her time in the United States. She asked the president about her travels and how seeing the world changes one’s perspective.
Tapkida: What is the value of traveling internationally?
Dozier: Those born in America tend to think that the American way is the only way, but when you travel around, you see other continents and see the sacrifices and also the contributions which they made to the world. For example, the first writing comes from Egypt, which is in Africa. It is also home to the Great Pyramids, which means there was a knowledge of math, physics and other sciences, which enabled the Egyptians to build those pyramids.
Tapkida: How many countries have you visited? Which is your favorite?
Dozier: I’ve been to 17 countries, at last count, including Bermuda, Jamaica, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Togo, Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, China, Liberia, Cameroon and Panama. Ghana is my favorite. It is where I feel most comfortable. It feels like home. I love the pride the people have. They have a great work ethic and have learned to use the little they have and make the most of it.
Tapkida: What was your first trip outside of the United States?
Dozier: My first international trip to Africa was to Togo. It was the first time I saw a carved stool, a sort of throne for the native kings and queens. I went to the markets and it was fascinating seeing a village built on the water.
Tapkida: Why do you think it is important for SSU students to go abroad?
Dozier: I encourage students to go abroad to see and learn how to make do with less. I see a lot of that when I travel abroad. Sometimes water is a challenge and the power sometimes goes off, but in order to understand the social conditions under which others are living, we have to live like they do. I want our students to be exposed to other ways in which they can solve problems. All you need is a visa and a passport.
This story first appeared in Impressions, Fall 2015