In honour of Black History Month, we’re sharing stories of students and employees to elevate Black voices and recognize their contributions to making our campus community a vibrant place.
When Anthony Lamai was trying to decide where to take the next step in his post-secondary education, he consulted with a trusted source: a Google web search.
“I already had a background in a bit of computer science and the opportunity to work in an IT firm, but then I felt like it was time I improved my knowledge in computer information technology,” explains the second-year Lethbridge College CIT student. “The moment I made the decision to go to Canada, I literally just went on Google to search for schools that offered that program with the particular areas I wanted to improve and were most likely to be affordable. That’s how I found Lethbridge College.”
Lamai was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, the largest city in Africa with a population of more than 15 million people. He completed a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Lagos before deciding to follow in the footsteps of other family members and move to Canada.
So why leave a bustling equatorial metropolis with growing tech and financial sectors for a mid-sized city on a wind-swept prairie in a country in which he’d never even set foot? Lamai says the answer was simple. “I was already exposed to city life and spending hours in traffic and the hustle and bustle, but I wanted to be somewhere that was a little quiet,” he says.
Lamai arrived in Lethbridge in January 2019 and, despite the unfamiliar winters, quickly threw himself into his new community. In addition to his studies, he works part time at TD Bank and serves as a student ambassador for the college, providing peer support and mentorship and, pre-COVID-19, helping organize events on campus. As an international student and member of a visible minority, Lamai says he’s aware that Lethbridge isn’t always seen as the most diverse place. But his experiences have been mainly positive ones, and he’s also eager to educate people and challenge stereotypes.
“I've been fortunate to be surrounded by people who are really awesome at college and at my workplace,” he says. “Just being myself is a good education for others, because people will be like ‘oh if you're from Africa maybe your English isn’t so good, or you don't even know what electricity is or what a textbook looks like or have a mobile phone,’ but I think I can change those kinds of stereotypes over time through my everyday interactions.”
When Lamai graduates this year, he plans to look for work in his field as a database or system administrator, which could mean once again moving to be closer to family members in different parts of Canada. But, he says, this small city that he discovered on the internet will always have a place in his heart.