Jesus Salvador Ncogo Biye - Wireless Voice and Data Communications

Jesus, International Student"Africa needs improvement, and I want to improve my hometown," said Jesus Ncogo Biye during his interview for his student visa.

Even though Jesus holds a bachelor's degree in telecommunications from a university in Ghana, he decided it wasn't enough. At the urging of his brother, he decided to obtain a degree from a college or university in the U.S.

From his tiny home country of Equatorial Guinea in Middle Africa, he researched colleges online. Through careful exploration, he discovered Bates' Wireless Voice and Data Communications program. He read that the college was accredited, and that students learn through practical application.

"I chose Bates because of the description of the college, and it was more affordable than other colleges," he said. "I would be able to earn an associate degree in a short period of time, and get a hands-on learning experience."

In early 2011, Jesus took the first step toward improving his hometown: he emailed our International Student Services office and began the enrollment process. By November, he had arrived in Tacoma, Wash. and began coursework.

"The difference is technology," said Jesus. "You can attend a four-year university-and you read books, but the book doesn't teach you the practical. At Bates, you combine everything-book and lab. Without the hands-on learning, you know nothing," said Jesus.

It took him some time to get used to the frequent breaks during the day, he said. "In Africa, you study for five hours, then there's a 30 minute break. Here, we have breaks throughout the day. I like it, because your mind needs breaks, to take a rest and absorb the knowledge."

The 25-year-old, who notes that people are friendly and smile often in America, likes that everything is technology-based. Tests are taken on the computer, and students learn using the latest technology.

"The books in Africa are old, and by the time technology reaches Africa, it has improved elsewhere in the world," he said. "When I go back home, I will be ahead of my peers."

Jesus is on target to graduate with an associate of technology degree in spring of 2013, and he plans to pursue a career in the telecommunications industry in Equatorial Guinea's government.