Sep 28 2012

First-generation student goes to college

CFCA sponsored youth Alfred.

CFCA sponsored youth Alfred.

Alfred is a sponsored youth from Bhagalpur, India, who is the first person from his village to attend college. Alfred is also a CFCA scholarship student, which helps cover other costs related to his education. Alfred sat down with Sreekanth, our communications liaison in India, to tell us about the academic and social challenges heís experienced as a college freshman.

Are you a first-generation college student? If so, how were you given this opportunity to attend college? Why did you decide to attend?

My father studied up to the ninth grade. He understands the value of education and encouraged me to study. Even though my college is very far away, he tried every opportunity to pay the fees and enroll me in school.

I am the first person to attend college from my village.

The hotel management and catering technology degree is a three-year diploma, and it is very expensive.

Though it is expensive, I preferred it because of CFCA’s sponsorship and scholarship support. I paid part of my college fees with CFCA’s help through sponsorship support and my CFCA scholarship. I was able to take out a bank loan for the remaining costs.

What did your parents think about your attending college? Did their attitudes change over time?

When I told them about going away to school and the about the college fees, my father told me that we would try to find the remaining costs from a different source.

Alfred with his family.

Alfred with his family.

We were able to use a portion of the CFCA sponsorship funds and the scholarship fund. The remaining costs were covered by a bank loan.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in attending college?

The major challenge is the language barrier. In college, teachers conduct classes in English. I had not studied the English medium, and it became difficult to understand.

I can manage writing English, but speaking is difficult for me.

I am practicing more, and soon I will speak fluently.

In the beginning, I felt that I was the poorest student in school. The other students arrive on bikes or in cars, and they are from very large towns. Many are not even familiar with my village.

I am happy that I can study among them.

How long does it take you to travel from home to college?

I am pursuing a degree in hotel management and catering technology, and the university is more than 248 miles (400 kilometers) from my home. It requires 12 hours of traveling.(Alfred stays near his school while classes are in session, and travels back home around the holidays, usually four times a year. For the final leg of his trip home, he walks eight miles from the main road to his home as there is no public transportation going to his village.)

What are some of the accomplishments you’re most proud of in attending college?

I am proud to be the first person to go to college from my area.

CFCA sponsored youth

Alfred makes the long trip to the university and back.

Do you have to pay for lodging away from home in order to attend college? If so, who pays for it? How much does it cost?

At my school, hostel [boarding house] fees are expensive, and two friends and I decided to rent a room.

My father sends me money every month for rent and food expenses.

What are some other costs incurred by your college education?

Other expenses include uniforms, purchasing books, pots and pans, and groceries.

What are your plans for the future? What do you hope to do with your college education?

After I complete my studies, we will have campus selections (job fair). I participate in the campus selections and try for the best organization to join the job. I am ready to go any place to work. I am passionate to see the places..

After getting the job, my first target is to repay the education loan. I also have the responsibility of my family. I am also interested to serve the poor people.

If you could give a message to your sponsor or the donor for your scholarship, what would you say?

All my education expenses (up to intermediate) are paid for with the help of sponsorship support.

Whatever I achieved now is because of CFCA and my sponsor’s help. I have been receiving support from second grade and beyond.

I am very much thankful to my sponsor and CFCA.

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