Today we feature Osvaldo Ismael Rosi Mejia, a junior Management Information Systems major from Mays Landing, NJ (Atlantic County). Osvaldo is originally from the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States in 2020 with his sister for the educational experience. Osvaldo talks about his journey to the United States and how his job on campus as a Technical Assistant at Rowan IRT has benefitted his transition.
Why did you choose to study Management Information Systems? Have you always wanted to pursue a career in this field?
I chose to study Management Information Systems (MIS) because back in the Dominican Republic I got my associate degree in cybersecurity. Rowan offered me the opportunity to combine business with technology at the same time. Since I have the knowledge of cybersecurity, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to study management information systems to combine my knowledge of that and technology with business.
MIS gives me the opportunity to gain knowledge about so many things like computers and different softwares, business analytics, web development and more.
When did you move from the Dominican Republic to the United States?
I received my documents in 2019 before Covid-19 and quarantine concerns began. I ended up officially moving to the United States with my sister in January of 2020 with the sole purpose of getting a better education. My sister is also a student at Rowan studying Biomedical Engineering.
How was the international transfer process? Was it difficult? Easier than expected? Confusing?
When I was first transitioning from the Dominican Republic to the United States it was difficult because of the language barrier. I knew English but not to the extent where I could converse with others. 2020 was definitely the most difficult year in trying to acclimate to the English language, and then shortly after I got here the entire country went into lockdown for the pandemic. This made it difficult to have conversations with others to be able to learn the language and meet people.
Despite the culture being different here, I can honestly say that the transition to the United States has not been too difficult to adjust to. Everyone in New Jersey has been extremely nice to me since I have gotten here. The transfer process itself was long because of all the paperwork I needed to complete in order to be allowed to begin education in the United States.
What barriers did you have to overcome in order to transition to US education? How are the education systems different?
The biggest challenge and barrier I had to overcome was the language difference. When applying to Rowan I actually needed a translator to help me understand what courses I needed to take and what was required of me curriculum-wise. It was important that my credits from the Dominican Republic were transferred correctly, and the Rowan administration helped greatly with that process.
The difference between education in the Dominican Republic and the United States was the people. Ever since I came here I have had a great support system by my professors and peers.
What is your role/job description when working for Rowan IRT?
Our job is to help anyone that needs assistance, whether it’s faculty or students. We help with anything ranging from computers, PCs, wifi problems, Rowan Network problems, problems with ClearPass OnGuard, or really anything with their technology.
How has your job within Rowan IRT helped you socially and professionally?
Working for Rowan IRT walk up assistance has helped me so much with developing my English language skills and building my comfort level of talking to people. This job has helped me more than I ever imagined it would. A huge part of my job is listening to people’s problems with their laptops and being able to come up with a solution, so it improved my listening and communication skills greatly.
How has Rowan supported you through your transition from Dominican Republic to the United States?
Rowan feels like my second home. My professors are very willing to help me and compromise. My first semester in person at Rowan was in Spring 2021 and all of my professors kept me 15 minutes after the class was over to make sure I understood everything and the material that was taught that day. It was awesome how supportive they were and still are.
Are there any culture shocks you have experienced while being a student in the states?
When I got here the weather was really shocking. The Dominican Republic is always so hot and stays around 70 to 85 degrees everyday, and when I came here it got very cold quickly.
People here are also very polite. I remember I was shocked the first time someone held the door open for me and I was also shocked when I held the door open for someone and they responded with “Thank you!” People here are so nice.
Like what you see?
Natalie DePersia, junior public relations major
Valentina Giannattasio, first year dance and marketing double major