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Humans of Hofstra: Roel James

Humans of Hofstra: Roel James

I lived in Florida until I was 3 and then I moved back home to Antigua, in the Caribbean. I stayed there until I was 18. Growing up, I really didn’t know what it was like here, but I had seen shows and movies. Back home, it’s completely different; after grade six we have five more grades, but we call them forms. I graduated at 16 and then I did a pre-college program for the last two years so I could come up here. In my last year of pre-college program, my advisor helped me look up some education programs and Hofstra had the best one, and it offered me a great scholarship. It was everything – I always wanted to go to New York, my aunt lives close by, so I still have family here and I love the snow – it really had it all. When people tell me they graduated with, like, 500 people and they didn’t know anyone, it’s difficult for me to relate to – I graduated with 50 people. So, you know everyone, and you know everything about everyone. There was no major culture clash when I got here, but it was definitely different. There [were a] lot of things that people would say in conversations and they would assume I knew the lingo, but I didn’t. Especially with history, I didn’t know any American history. I would walk around on campus with my roommate and I didn’t know any of the statues and she would say, ‘How do you not know who Benjamin Franklin is?’ There was a lot I didn’t know and still don’t know. Antigua is so small, so it’s easier to know everyone. I think we’re a lot more social and understanding, and it feels like everyone is part of this one community. Coming to Hofstra was a really different experience for me. At first, I really missed home. It took me a hot second to find a group of people I could connect with because [there are] just so many people here. Even now, when I walk around, I find it so weird that all these people can see you but never notice you; but back home it was like, as soon as you see someone, you either know them or you know of them. Home is much friendlier – the people are more inviting, more comforting – it felt like a huge family.

Humans of Hofstra: Leon Jaggan

Humans of Hofstra: Leon Jaggan

A behind-the-scenes look at Hofstra Votes Live

A behind-the-scenes look at Hofstra Votes Live