International destination

Student from Gambia relishes individual instruction at BGSU

By Bob Cunningham

Abdoulie Jaiteh discovered Bowling Green State University through a simple internet search.

That may be how Jaiteh, Class of 2017, arrived at Bowling Green from The Gambia, in West Africa, but the individual attention he’s received from faculty and many leadership opportunities on campus are what has kept him at BGSU.

"I think one of the values at BGSU is, it’s all about you, the student, and that’s always in play. I feel like BGSU has a lot to offer in the way that they accept students and interact with them. Attention that students receive here, to me, is very valuable to us as students."

“I feel like there are many resources to utilize here at Bowling Green,” said Jaiteh, an aviation studies major in the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering. “I think one of the values at BGSU is, it’s all about you, the student, and that’s always in play. I feel like BGSU has a lot to offer in the way that they accept students and interact with them. Attention that students receive here, to me, is very valuable to us as students.

“Whether it’s International Student Services (ISS) and the way they correspond with you and help you out or the orientation process — it’s just fabulous. And then when you go into the classrooms, the instructors have so much attention for you.” 

He is the only student from The Gambia at BGSU, but that hasn’t stopped him from making a lot of friends or actively participating in campus activities. 

“It depends on your personality and I would describe myself as having an outgoing personality,” said Jaiteh, who said he has a host family that is very nice to him and has invited him to dinner and other social activities. “It takes a while to settle down, especially in an environment with cultural differences, but eventually I made friends and now some of my mates say I know everyone on campus.”

Jaiteh joined the African People’s Association, where he said he met “my fellow Africans.” He’s also a member of the Undergraduate Student Government and Muslim Students Association, which is part of the USG. He’s sat on the Aviation Faculty Advisory Board, and he will sit on a committee for the ISS starting in the fall. 

“BGSU offers students a lot of leadership roles, which is very good for confidence building and your future career,” said Jaiteh, who also is an International Student Ambassador.   

Jaiteh said most of his classes have been on the smaller side, which he likes, so he has been able to get one-on-one attention from faculty.

“That way, they know you and they can identify and help you with your coursework, which I definitely want in my university education,” he said.

Aviation Management and Operations has been the focus for Jaiteh, who had prior experience working as an air traffic controller before arriving at BGSU. He hopes to work in an airport facility in either operations or safety after graduation.

Jaiteh interned at the Wood County Regional Airport in the spring as a line service technician. He said he gained invaluable experience because he was able to do some hands-on line service functions such as handling aviation fuel, towing and tie-downs, airfield inspection and maintenance. He also was engaged in office management procedures, reviewing and drafting of airport operating procedures, training procedures and an emergency plan.

"It was an added experience that I value because I had only worked at an international airport where my job functions were specific to my positions," Jaiteh said. "In the line service functions in a general aviation airport, you have the opportunity to do a bit of everything because of the size of operations and airport. I worked with supportive people who were very welcoming."

Overall, Jaiteh couldn’t be happier that he found BGSU when he was searching for aviation programs.  

“I feel like Bowling Green State University has so much for students to tap into,” he said. “I encourage my fellow international students to make use of the opportunities because a lot of these opportunities do not exist back home, including the Career Center, job opportunities, internships and even organization leadership training. I encourage them to get engaged because the BGSU community is very welcoming to international students.”