Bringing a world view
February 20, 2020
“I think everybody - at least you should be more curious and not treat other people like an alien if we're not an American.”
I am a physician. So, I did medicine undergrad and practiced for a year and eight months as a full-blown physician. Before that, it was a long years of medical school. I'm from Ethiopia, by the way. You grow up thinking what you think your community wants. It's a very different kind of community from America, really. For the first time I started thinking, 'what do I want?' is after I came here.
I have a classmate, he's African. We pretty much hang out all the time. And I roll more with Asian students. And some American girls, there are some people who are really mature, and it just amazes me sometimes how far they will go to understand you. And I really hang out with that kind of people, even though they're not from Africa, really, they're from here. I think my circle is kind of like - because we're 56 students in the class, and I feel like I'm only friends with five, six people in there. And I, you know, I tend to remember their birthdays and I hang out with them for dinner, and I work with them on projects, but when I'm assigned with different people, I try my best to contribute and to understand what they're saying and trying to be empathic for their problems, even though it's harder for me sometimes - what they think is their problems, in my world, that's actually a good thing.
If you're from Africa, and they say, 'You're here because of diversity, to just increase cultural color,’ you know? And I want you to think that I'm here - the color that I bring, the culture is an added benefit that Notre Dame gets from me. I am here because - I think it was harder for me to come here than any person. Because, man, I pay for everything, and I do everything myself. And most of the kids, the parents do those things for them.
They would say, 'I don't know how it would be in Ethiopia, but in America, things are done like this,' you know? Who do you think you are? Really? And these people, their world is just this - I think for some people it's just Chicago, but for most just America. I think that's really wrong. In my opinion, I don't know, I've been to Europe a lot. They pretty much know every country, and they don't mistake you or mix you up, you know? And they speak their own language in Europe - there's so many different languages - and they speak English fluently, and then they speak some more languages. I think everybody - at least you should be more curious and not treat other people like an alien if we're not an American. I think that's a huge mistake.
About the interviewer
John (Jack) Lyons is a member of the Class of 2021 at the University of Notre Dame. He majors in theology and is a member of the John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy.
Tsion Sadore is a graduate student in the ESTEEM Program at Notre Dame. She hails from Ethiopia, where she works as a physician. She founded her own cancer center to care for patients from lower socieconomic backgrounds in her native country.