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Jonathan Flomo Alumni Scholarship Recipient

In augustus 2014 verwelkomde Tilburg Law School twee Liberiaanse studenten, Gator Tate en Jonathan Flomo, die met een alumnibeurs een masteropleiding in Tilburg volgen. Jonathan Flomo heeft bij de ambassade van de Verenigde Staten gewerkt, maar hij nam zijn ontslag om recht te gaan studeren aan Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law (University of Liberia). Komend academisch jaar zal Jonathan deelnemen in het master programma Victimology & Criminal Justice.

Een update van Jonathan

My Tilburg Experience

When I look back and see how fast it has slipped by, I am happy to be writing about by Tilburg experience. There are not too many fond reminisces in my story but I must admit that I learned a lot during my stay since it is the longest time yet I’ve spent in the Western world. This does not mean either that my time in Tilburg invoke all but melancholic memories. My Tilburg Experience kicked off on a rather difficult and traumatic note. This I can say affected every aspect of my purpose of being in Tilburg such that I often contemplated taking some dramatic actions. I in fact harbored the idea of dropping out of the program. This off course would have meant that I was unable to take up challenges and conquer them just as I did during the many difficult times during the war years in my country. In fact I was sure that during the war I had had more difficulties as I can remember when I was a refugee in Danane, the Ivory Coast, I survived on ‘the margin’ of humanity sometimes going days without any ‘real food’; when I travelled along with my little brother to Ghana-escaping the difficulties in Ivory Coast just to lost him to cholera, a disease that is spread due to unsanitary conditions. But on the contrary, here I was in Tilburg where life was-in my view-at some of the best standards it can be. So to say I did not appreciate or haven’t appreciated my being in Tilburg would be a gross understatement. Thus I knew from the start that quitting was not the best option. I would stay to fight a fight I knew I would win.

Every time I am on TiU Campus and see thousands of students; some of whom I can-without prejudice-refer to as children, I think about how my own youth was stolen from me by hardship and war experience. Then I am reminded that I could have done a Master’s two decades ago if all hell had not broken loose in my country. Then I am reminded how important it is to have been offered a scholarship to be at TiU.

Being at TiU has made me to wonder and always want to ask how much such an institution is appreciated in the lives of those it is striving to make an impact upon. I can see and sense the all-year –round efforts the institution makes to improve its standards for example, by conducting evaluations on courses, and gathering views from students on the standards at the university and all I can do is marvel. I am then made aware that maybe to stay in ‘the business’, institutions such as TiU must go through some sort of continuous metamorphosis. The fact that there is not one institution of this standard (TiU) in my country can easily tell you the few institutions of higher learning that exist there would never care about students’ evaluation since in fact there is no competition in the educational sector. I wonder then how many of the typical Dutch or European students really appreciate what they’ve got here.

Despite these general observations, my personal learning experience has been somewhat a challenge in many ways than one. The biggest part of my challenge at TiU has been coming to terms with my expectations after taking an exam and the result I get. It was really terrible during the first semester. I put all the extra hours to make up for my own lapses but it’s like I just never get it right on exams! It is important to stress that my instructors where all excellent and up to the task. My failings can in no way be blamed on them though I do feel that some of the professors are really stingy in their assessment. Anyway I was always reminded by the African proverb that says that you always learn a lot when you lose than when you win. So by failing in a couple of exams, I learned from my mistakes and bounced back. Now that I persevered to the end, it gives me great joy.

On a happy note, I see the Dutch as very approachable people. They are willing to assist you as much as they can. The weather was terrible for me but riding bicycle all the time was a great experience. Dutch food, hmmmm, I never got used to it but a few occasions stand out in my experience with Dutch cuisine and one such occasion is when we were invited by Frederique Knoet at her home to dine with she and her family. The reception and the food was just excellent!

I can now sit and look back at the time that have passed and how fast it has passed, and see how difficult it has been to be away from home and family especially arriving in Tilburg just when the peak of the Ebola crisis in country Liberia, had just begun, an epidemic that killed over 4700 persons. Words are inadequate to say how difficult it was to be in such a situation; sitting in Europe while death looms over everyone that you know and love. I see now why it wasn’t just an easy ride for me here at TiU. I just give God the glory for His goodness and thank everyone who was involved one way or the other in affording me this opportunity.

Jonathan stelt zichzelf even voor

jonathan flomo

"I am Jonathan N. Flomo, a Liberian. I was born on May 16, 1973 to the union of Mr. Peter K. Flomo and Ms. Martha T. Wongan. I was raised in Liberia but had to flee the country in the early 1990s due to a prolong civil that was going on in my country at the time. I came to Ivory Coast where I completed my high school in 1995. I then went back to Liberia after a while and enrolled at the African Methodist University in 1999 and completed my Bachelor Degree in Management in 2003. I worked for three years with DHL International Liberia Ltd. after leaving college before I got another job in 2007 with the U.S. Embassy in Liberia where I was until I enrolled at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia, graduating with a LLB in 2011. I cannot overemphasize how much this scholarship means to me. I come from a country where the is little such opportunities. There are few higher institutions of learning and especially ones that offer Masters Degrees. Getting the Alumni Scholarship means a total transformation in my life. I can, and you also can be assured that I'll be empowered after my studies to contribute more meaningfully to my country and to humanity as a whole. I relish this opportunity and commit myself to proving no mistake was made when I was chosen as such. I'll do my best to make the Alumni proud because someday I too would very much like to contribute to this worthy cause.