African Studies: Student Testimonials

Ifeoma Amaechi

Major: English
Minors: Political Science & African Studies

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
I found that the combination of all three English, Political Science and African Studies complemented each other very well in regards to my goal of becoming a journalist. I wanted to be able to know how to write, compose and speak really well, but also know about my topic of interest and for me it was politics specifically African. So to be able to achieve the level of journalism that I aspire to be able to do I wanted to be very educated in those topics. The African studies minor at UTSC was actually a deciding factor for me that made me choose this school.
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
The African studies program at UTSC in one word is refreshing. Every class is unique and interesting and the professors are super passionate about their work. The program takes you all over Africa through a different lens. From film, to religion, to culture, and geographical, political, and social perspectives its new and interesting and can be used to bring a deeper perspective to many different things. One of my favourite things about the program is that it gives a voice to the African perspective. We are accustomed to hearing about Africa through a western imperialist view that mainly speaks about the conquest of Africa, colonialism, and the Slave trade. However, in the African studies program at UTSC, there are many courses that look at Africa through a different lens and showcase it as more than a continent ravaged by Europeans but dives into individual countries and cultures and educates through Africans about their own land pre-colonial, colonial, and post. The minor also requires courses from different disciplines that relate to Africa, so it really gives you a wide variety of opportunity to fulfil different interest.
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
You won’t be disappointed. African studies minor is a great complement to any discipline. It will open up the world to you from a place that doesn't have to much of its own history written. You will be a part of exclusive club that is enriched with African studies from the arts to politics to business you will definitely have upper hand.
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
My plans after graduation are limitless. I came into UTSC studying to be an international journalist for the BBC or some other international news broadcasting company. However, there are so many opportunities and interest of mine that have surfaced since then. I am considering law school to study international law / human rights. At the same time I am constantly motivating myself and those around me and have started to write a book and business is never too far away from my mind. But what has really spoken to me is the need for more education on Africa and its perspective because it is such a huge gold mine that academically has not been cracked. So it would be an honour to be a professor potentially within the African studies department teaching something that is close to my heart. I come from an African background my parents are Nigerian so it is in my nature. As well Nigeria specifically has so much untapped information just like a lot of other African nations that would inspire many people.

What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
My academic journey has progressed in the best way possible. My first year just like many other students I took a few different courses that interested me and second year I began to focus on what really drove me. With African studies the minor is very liberal and has many options to fulfil the minor.