From Africa to Appleton to Lambeau
Akim Atibu's educational journey is one busy path
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
Fox Valley Technical College student Akim Atibu has already had quite an amazing journey and he’s not done yet. Born in the Congo and raised in Uganda, Akim came to Appleton through the assistance of World Relief, an organization that helps refugees settle in the United States.
While living with his brother, Akim was introduced to Fox Valley Technical College where his first step was to complete the English Language Learning program.
“From the soccer team that I used to play with, most of the players used to speak [English] around us so that is where I learned some of the words and that’s how I learned to communicate with them,” Akim says. “So then I moved here and I was told, ‘hey, you’re going to take English classes. In order for you to be successful here, you have to speak the language.’ They enrolled me. In August 2016, I started my first class and here I am today.”
Akim continued his studies and completed the Adult Education program at FVTC. With the help of an instructor, Akim also completed a career assessment to determine what might be a good next step for him. The results of the assessment suggested Akim might like to work in social work, paramedics or criminal justice.
“I chose criminal justice and enrolled in a crime prevention class,” Akim explains. “It was fully online but we did meet our instructor and that was really eye-opening for the whole program overall. From there on, I chose the Criminal Justice program and here I am today, still going.”
And he’s still on his journey. With the last game of the season a few days ago, Akim completed an internship with the Green Bay Packers where he worked alongside their security and the Green Bay Police Department.
“I absolutely love it and it is not just because of seeing all these famous athletes, coaches and staff from the Green Bay Packers, but because I have learned a lot of things from working alongside the Green Bay police officers.
"For instance, communicating clearly, quickly and professionally, actively listening to people regardless of how distracting or critical the environment can be. I am always impressed by how they catch fans attempting to sneak in items that are not allowed in the stadium. And lastly, I have realized how being adaptable is extremely valuable because this was my first time working with 70,000+ people while dealing with very cold weather and I still have to act in a professional manner at all times.”
With the internship done for the season, Akim has already put in a request to return next season. And he continues his studies in the criminal justice program. He speaks highly of his journey so far, and he credits FVTC with helping steer him in the right direction.
“Life here is so much better. Growing up, I had no plans of being highly educated as I am today,” Akim explains. “I can say that life was just about finding a job. So me being here, having an opportunity to find a job that I really like, and being educated, I really am so blessed to have this opportunity.”
Akim shared his story with the Wisconsin Technical College System and you can watch the video below..