By Scarlett Birge, student news writer, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “God has given us an opportunity at Campbellsville University to be more globally engaged,” Monica Bamwine, director of graduate enrollment, said at Campbellsville University’s Nov. 4 chapel service as part of the university’s International Education Week arranged by the Center for Global Engagement.
“Education brought us to America,” Bamwine said of her and her ex-husband.
She spoke of praying at their church in Africa for the opportunity to come to the United States to finish getting an education. Bamwine said within two years of praying for help they were presented with an opportunity to go to New York on an international scholarship.
“Education is very important to us,” Bamwine said of her family.
After moving to Ohio and receiving her Master’s degree in Business Administration, Bamwine said she was introduced to Campbellsville University.
“The Lord opened a way for us to come to Campbellsville. We had never heard of Campbellsville, but again God worked it out for us,” she said.
She spoke about her daughter, Dr. Trisha Bamwine, graduating from CU in three years before getting her master’s degrees from Western Kentucky University and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as earning her Ph.D., and now being employed at the University of Tennessee as an assistant professor of social work.
“If we came from Africa and were able to achieve all of that, I know you guys can do it too,” Bamwine said about seeking further education after graduating and not being intimidated by the idea of being an international student.
“Being in America hasn’t always been easy,” she said.
She spoke about facing people doubting her and being prejudiced toward her throughout her journey. She faced several instances of racism, including going to church and people moving away from her when she sat in the pew next to them and also one case in which she parked her car next to an elderly woman who immediately rolled up her windows and drove away upon seeing Bamwine.
“Sometimes we were not treated the greatest,” she said. People often made fun of her family for having accents. She said that she has experienced many times in her job when calling people they would hang up on her because they claimed she wasn’t speaking English.
“As a different person from a different country, sometimes it’s hard because many people are not familiar with where you come from or who you are,” Bamwine said about having a few bad experiences in trying to adjust to being in a foreign country.
However, she said her faith in God was one good thing she could always count on during hardships.
“When you love the Lord and you have the Lord in your heart, you know where to go to for comfort and for guidance,” she said.
“But of course, there’s been so many good things that we’ve experienced in America,” she said. “The diversity of people and the Christian leadership at Campbellsville University has been a great experience that outweighs all the bad.”
She spoke of the kindness of the people at Campbellsville University deeply touching her when she lost both of her parents within the same year and the university hosted a fundraiser to help send her to Africa to attend her mother’s funeral.
Bamwine said the support of others reaching out to her in moments of struggle, such as when she got divorced or when her daughter underwent brain surgery, provided a sense of community for her and lifted her spirits.
She spoke of the importance of learning about other people’s cultures and traditions and reaching out to provide support for internationals and to those who are different than yourself.
She said taking the opportunity to share the message of the Lord’s security could provide the comfort that someone needs.
Oluchi Enemuo, a freshman of Nigeria; Meihua Cui, a graduate student of China; and Itzel Hernandez Leon, a junior of Mexico, led the service by each praying in their native language.
All chapels are televised on WLCU (Comcast Cable channel 10 and digital channel 15), streamed on Campbellsville University’s Facebook page and wlcutv.com and can be found at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGOyyKyrGBpSx8-uXa4NRtw.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 13,500 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.