by Heidie Raine, Student Public Relations Writer
When Hannah Oaisa completed high school in spring 2019, she had her eyes set on attending college like many young graduates do. However, when Oaisa made the decision to travel 8,136 miles away from her home in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to the United States, her journey, and the sacrifices involved, have become anything but typical — especially once COVID hit in March of this year.
Oaisa, who is a sophomore computer science major, chose Cedarville University for the academic opportunity and spiritual enrichment.
Her family first heard of the University from missionaries working in PNG who visited her church. When Oaisa’s father shared about her plans to study in America, the missionaries highly recommended Cedarville.
Her family’s considerable sacrifices and generous financial aid from Cedarville have made it possible for her to study in the United States.
“I wanted to come to America because of the education system here,” Oaisa said. “The academic standard here has a very good international reputation, and a lot of the students who study here get good jobs back home. Also, it was very important for me to come to a Christian school for spiritual development. It’s what I wanted, and it’s what I’m getting here.”
“My family decided to move to a less expensive home to pay for my tuition,” Oaisa shared. “We thank God that I have a partial scholarship, which allows me to continue my studies here.”
Oaisa selected the computer science major to develop specific technological skills, which she plans to use to serve her home country.
“Technology back home is really low,” Oaisa shared. “The reason I want to study computer science is so that I can go back home, work as a software developer,and help create other technologies. Not many other students in PNG have that opportunity, and that gives me a great passion for it.”
Thus far, Oaisa’s favorite class has been Digital Logic Design (DLD) with Dr. Clint Kohl, senior professor of computer engineering.
“DLD is a challenging course in which students learn about the fundamental building blocks that make up digital systems like computers,” Kohl shared. “Hannah was cheerful, hardworking and very kind and respectful to me in class. She and her partner did a great job on their final project, and I really enjoyed having her and a few other international students.”
MISO, a student organization focused on promoting global cultures, has been a major source of community for Oaisa.
“I was so nervous at first with the new culture and 15-hour time difference,” Oaisa noted. “Then with COVID, I wasn’t able to go home, so I have been in Ohio since last fall. Having the other international students when everyone else went home was a great blessing. We had each other, and we became very close.”
Oaisa has also found comfort through Heritage Fellowship Church in Springfield, Ohio, which she attends each week with her roommate.
As she reflects on her experiences studying in the United States, Oaisa is overwhelmingly grateful for the strength she has drawn from God.
"Coming to America helped me rely on God even more and realize that I do need him, and that I can’t just do things on my own,” Oaisa said. “God is the only person you can run to and seek for help. When everyone goes home to their families, I don’t always know where to go, but God has given me peace and comfort.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, such as the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.