My name is Awongngi Andrew and am originally from South Sudan although between 2013 and 2020, I had been living in Uganda as an asylum seeker.
I am currently residing in Canada where am pursuing my bachelor’s degree in computer science/ Mathematics & Statistics. It was through the support of WIU and WUSC that I am where I am today.
After my high school education, I started thinking of how I was going to continue with my post-secondary studies. I knew I did not have the necessary resources to support my next phase of education. One afternoon I shared my concerns with a friend, who in fact had heard about a certain Student Refugee Program. Therefore, I decided to look it up and find out what the necessary requirements were. Two days later, after preparations, I went to drop my application. I was shocked to see that a number of students had already applied for this program. Deep down, I immediately knew it was going to be a much tougher race to the extent that at one point, I had given up on it. Lost in my thoughts on a sunny hopeless Friday afternoon, I received an email from WIU saying, “Andrew, you’ve been selected for an SRP English interview scheduled for Monday”. It was at this point when I remembered Isaiah 60:22. After that first interview, I lived by the hope that I had already made it to Canada. Series of interviews and processes followed the first interview and finally, here I am today.
Today, generally, life in Canada is interestingly amazing much as the cost of living itself is high. The high cost also encourages one to work harder than usual. The weather (especially during winter) is somewhat unusual but with time, the body gets used to it. From my personal experience, most people I meet are always social and friendly.
On the other hand, the food here has been one area that am still struggling to adapt to but am hopeful that all will be normal to me sooner.
In addition to working harder, I have learned to be more independent and cautious about life. I have totally understood that any wrong decision one makes can haunt their life until the end. My eyes can now see how my future looks like based on whatever decisions I make today. My life is now redefined, and I have come to understand that not everything means something and that somethings are not just meant for the present. “There is time for everything.” Secondly, I can support my family financially as of now. Much as I do not have enough, I try to share the little with them with the hope that God will help provide more.
Supporting my family was something I did not think I could ever be able to do before graduation but the unexpected is now a possibility.
By the grace of God, in the short run, I hope to continue with my studies while working at the same time. I believe there is always something new to learn so that one can understand life to a larger extent.
In the end, I just hope I will have the strength to give back to the community. To me, sharing is the bedrock to a meaningful life and coexistence. If everyone was willing to understand that “I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper”, then the world have been a better place from the very beginning.
To all the refugees around the world, I just want to let you know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. It does not matter who you are or what you are or where you are, life will always put you down if you let it to. You have come too far, and you have already experienced a lot to quit. I earlier on said I did give up at one point, but it did not mean I quit completely. When I gave up, I went back to the mirror asking what it is that I want, I went to refresh but not to quit and give up on who I was. The image I saw in the mirror was not of a friend or a family member who is to fight for my future. Who I have been looking for all along is me. In addition, today, I still see that me. All I needed was I and a Mighty God behind me. Do not let the challenges you have gone through or your weaknesses break or define you; just allow those flaws to teach you as you learn from them.
Above all, the most important thing is to keep the faith and hope in God.
Finally, whoever came up with this idea of SRP has truly left a legacy that will forever be honored. This program has given hope to deprived individuals who I believe at one point thought the future they have always hoped for is unreachable and gone forever.
To all the stakeholders and all personnel overseeing this program, I extend my sincere gratitude.
I just hope someday all SRP Alumni come together and give more reinforcement and support to this noble cause.