Photo courtesy of The Chaparral. International student and business administration major Nalabwama Julie Bridget.
BY JACOB SCHULTE
Another semester at College of the Desert is quickly coming to a close, and many students are steps closer to reaching their educational goals. One student, who is a part of COD’s International Education Program (IEP), is just a semester away from graduation.
Nalubwama Julie Bridget, who usually goes by the name Julie or Bri, was born and raised in Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda. She is on track to graduate after the Spring 2020 semester and plans to transfer to Cal State San Bernadino.
“My major is business administration, so I’ve had to study a wide range of topics,”said Nalubwama, “Right now I study math, Spanish and of course several business classes because my goal is to be an accountant.”
As someone who has been in the United States for less than two years, there was a culture adjustment period that is still somewhat ongoing.
“There’s a very big cultural difference,” Nalubwama said, “I’ve definitely have had to be flexible because I’m from a different culture and have a different accent, but with time I’ve met some friends and tried to fit in as best I can.”
One of her favorite places in the U.S. so far is Los Angeles. Nalubwama thinks Santa Monica is beautiful and she loves the movie industry. She has already visited the Sunset Strip in Hollywood and been to several movie premiers, claiming to be a fan, especially of films made by renowned director Spike Lee.
As someone who grew up in a completely different place and culture, Nulubwama had some thoughts about the growing plague of mental health issues affecting everyday Americans, especially young people.
“I think sometimes people here are so focused on the future or their work that they forget to enjoy the present. It’s important to leave enough time to take care of yourself. Maybe it’s the social media addiction, but I’ve seen stories of beautiful young people that anyone would look up to take their own lives because they are so depressed. It’s very sad,” said Nalubwama.
Nalubwama worked as a receptionist and also as a saleswoman at a pharmaceutical company in Kampala. This helped her acquire valuable work experience before deciding to continue her education abroad.
“After I graduated from high school, I worked for about four or five years, then I decided I wanted to finish my studying but in a different environment,” Nalubwama said.
Nalubwama is multi-linguistic, she is fluent in English, seven Ugandan and African languages, including Swahili and now is a Spanish student.
“I can write Spanish pretty well. I just have more trouble speaking it,” Nalubwama said, “But I’m always continuing to learn.”
She also expressed her gratitude to the college and hopes to see her family soon.
“COD has been really helpful to me as a student, helping me get a visa quickly and continue my education, I miss my family a lot, but I’m hoping my mom will be able to visit in May when I graduate.”