Joses Akampurira: Making the Transition to University Life

by Nishat Tasnim and Alviss Luu | October 15, 2013
Joses Akampurira - UBC International Scholar

Name: Joses Akampurira
Home: Kabale, Uganda
Program: BASc in Engineering

For Joses Akampurira, this is a very special moment. It’s his first time outside of Uganda and he is starting his first year at UBC’s Okanagan campus in the Faculty of Engineering. I had a chance to speak to this bright young man about his his hopes, expectations, and experiences at UBC so far, and his plans for his time at UBC — and beyond.

Joses was born and grew up in Kabale, southwest of Kampala, Uganda. He has always been a small city person with an appreciation for natural settings and simple people. He is close to his family, and has seen them transition through many a struggle. Yet Joses has the cheeriest perspective on life. He is always smiling, happy, and jolly. “Always smile,” said Joses cheerily, “You will always find that there is a reason.”

The story of how he came to join us at our beautiful campus starts with his Career Guidance teacher in Kabale. She had travelled around Canada to visit different universities and had come back to her students full of excitement about UBC as a world-class institution and she strongly encouraged Joses to apply to UBC’s Okanagan campus. She believed it was the right place for him.

Joses had never been to Canada before coming to UBC’s Okanagan campus. He travelled for three days and incurred jet lag that took four days to get over. Nevertheless, his experience at the campus and in Kelowna has been very positive and exciting. The topography of Kelowna is similar to Kabale and it reminds him of his childhood. He participated in the Jumpstart Orientation program where he was introduced to Kelowna and made many friends. His Jumpstart friends described him as a “happy African child.” He has the ability to brighten everybody’s day with his smile and his positive outlook on life. “The international scholars are so nice. With the Retreat and Jumpstart, I feel like I’m part of one big family.”

The transition was not always easy, though. Joses had some challenges with food initially. The abundance of bread and cheese made it difficult for him to maintain a balanced diet. But Joses found plenty of help and guidance from his International Advisor and the Health and Wellness Centre. He now has a nutrition plan that the nurse at Health and Wellness helped him create. Besides food, Joses identified the challenges of being an engineering student. “Engineering is inspiring much as demanding. Nothing comes easy. But I want to be a successful engineer and I’m willing to make the effort.”

Joses acknowledged that being a part of UBC means he has access to many opportunities and he feels very fortunate to call himself a UBC student. With his time at UBC, he wants to get involved, make many friends and create valuable connections. “My mother calls this place ‘the Promised Land,’” he said.

Joses has big plans for the future. He wants to have a positive impact on people’s lives and wants to build a path for many Africans and Ugandans to access such wonderful places as UBC.