United States acting Consul General in Nigeria, Osman Tat, has advised over 303 Nigerian students from 17 southern states preparing to leave for studies in about 225 universities and colleges in the U.S to be focused, learn and return to give back to their country.
Tat spoke on Tuesday in Lagos at a pre-departure orientation programme organised by EducationUSA at the U.S. Consulate General.
The U.S official said he was impressed that the students met admission requirements for American universities – with some getting up to $7.5 million in full or partial scholarships.
He urged them to return to help Nigeria realize its potential.
“I am glad you are getting this opportunity to study. It is a very important step in your life. You are the future of Nigeria. It is really important you understand this. I hope you come back to help your country. There is so much potential here but it has to be realised by you,” he said.
Thirteen of the students, comprising 10 undergraduates and three postgraduates, are beneficiaries of education grants from EducationUSA Opportunity Fund.
They received full scholarships and financial aid to cover the up-front cost of obtaining admission.
About 100 students at the event learnt tips to survive in the U.S. from the consular, law enforcement officers as well as Nigerian alumni of U.S. universities and colleges.
They will be attending Stanford University, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, Purdue University, Tufts University, Boston University, Emory University and Howard University.
The students will also attend other Ivy League universities, liberal arts colleges, women’s colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and community colleges.
The Open Doors Report, published annually by the Institute of International Education, states that Nigeria is the 13th highest sending country of international students to the U.S.A with about 12,693 Nigerians currently studying in the United States.