What you need to know:
- The decision to join the military was borne of my great interest in serving the country as a police officer.
- I consider that job to be very noble, given the role that the men in uniform do in our society.
- I had the burning passion and desire to excel as an officer, despite the rigorous training.
- In the long run, I learnt the importance of perseverance, discipline, endurance and leadership, as I headed a barrack during the training.
Sam Omwoyo is a student at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China. The trail blazing 25-year-old was feted as the outstanding African student in China during the 10th awards ceremony held on June 24, 2023 in China-Beijing City. He has impressive leadership skills despite his young age and is the president of African students at the Beijing-based institution.
Sam also works for the Ministry of Interior and National Administration in the Prisons Department as an inspector.
Tell us more about the scholarship you received to study in Beijing...
I was honored to receive the CSC-MOFCOM scholarship which granted me the opportunity to advance my studies in China.
Getting a chance to study abroad has always my dream. In the past, I had applied for a scholarship in Istanbul but couldn’t pursue that route because at the time I was laser focused on the police training.
I started applying for the scholarship in September 2022 after I came across a poster on our staff notice board. It was a long process and many of my friends gave up and failed to complete the process, but I remained steadfast. I diligently followed all the steps and I am gratefully I won it.
Tell us about hour job as an inspector of prisons...
After university, I had a nirvana moment and decided to carve a different path from what I had studied. I applied and was selected to join the paramilitary cadet training which I attended for 13 months from October 2021.
The decision to join the military was borne of my great interest in serving the country as a police officer. I consider that job to be very noble, given the role that the men in uniform do in our society. I had the burning passion and desire to excel as an officer, despite the rigorous training.
In the long run, I learnt the importance of perseverance, discipline, endurance and leadership, as I headed a barrack during the training. Afterwards I was posted to the Prisons Service in Nakuru as an inspector and despite being young, I enjoyed the role. I focused on making a difference while maintaining a strong work ethic. The officers took my commands at all times despite my young age.
How did you end up becoming the president of African students in China?
My journey to heading that body began with an online election victory. I threw my hat in the ring and promised to assist fellow students establish more unifying programmes, and expressed my commitment to fostering unity and excellence. This earned me admiration and propelled me to victory.
What do you love most about being a student leader in the diaspora?
As a student leader overseas, I engage with people from all over the world, which serves to expand my knowledge and perspectives in life. I take my role seriously as it is about bridging racial and cultural divides, build lasting connections, and cultivating a sense of shared purpose.
You were recently feted as an outstanding African student in China. What was that about?
I earned the honour thanks to the work I do in serving as President of the African Students Association, conducting impactful research, providing peer counseling, leading seminars, fostering unity through engaging activities, volunteering and assisting visiting delegates from other parts of the world. It was a recognition of the efforts both as a student and a leader, and it made me feel really appreciated.
What are some challenges African students face in China?
One of the key challenges is language barrier. We have so many students coming from so many different regions, and all of them speak different languages. To overcome this challenge, we provide translation services and comprehensive orientation programmes, ensuring a smooth transition into the Chinese education system.
Adapting to new cultural norms, climates, and food can lead to culture shock, and that is the other challenge.