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COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 200 8 University of South Florida. All rights, reserved. T his oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.
1 USF Florida Studies Center Oral History Program USF 50 th History Anniversary Project Narrator: Joseph Quarcoo Interviewer: Andrew Huse Current Position: USF Graduate Assistant in Location of Interview: Tampa Mathematics Campus Library Da te of Interview: January 7, 2004 Abstractor: Jared G. Toney Editor: Danielle E. Riley Date of Abstract: May 24, 2004 Date of Edit: May 26, 2004 Final Editor: Jared G. Toney TOPICS OF DISCUSSION Personal background; academics Mr. Quarcoo receive d a bachelor's degree in mathematics in his native country of Ghana, after which he was awarded a scholarship to pursue his master's degree in Italy. Though his intention had been to return to Ghana, he found that the mathematics program at USF was particu larly suited to his interests, and thus made the decision to apply to the university as a Ph.D. student. He first arrived at USF on September 7, 2001. Experiences in the U.S. He is very happy to be a student in the United States, and notes that experienc es here have been very good ones. "The college systems here take care of everybody." In Ghana, for instance, it is very difficult to get into the universities, and requires a "very high grade score it is very selective they only take the most qualified people." He particularly appreciates being able to take advantage of all the technological resources at the disposal of university students in the United States. "Here, the professors too are very nice, they are friendly." African Students Association As a student at USF, Mr. Quarcoo learned of the African Students Association, an organization that had been formed in 1997 with the intention of "bringing together all Africans in the United States." The Association provides members with a valuable forum not only to express a collective identity, but also to appreciate the diversity of their own individual backgrounds and experiences. Additionally, "It promotes the knowledge of our Africa and what's happening on the continent." While the organization first be gan as a primarily social activity, it has since become more and more discussion oriented. US African relations are among the subjects given most frequent attention. Emigration of students from Africa Mr. Quarcoo also discusses the tendency for many har d working African students to move abroad to pursue their higher educations. After spending a number of years in another country such as the United States, one has settled and finds it increasingly difficult to return to life in their native country, parti cularly after adjusting to all the
2 conveniences of western society. The majority of people who come to pursue their education, according to Quarcoo, do not return. "The life here is very easy so they don't go back." Because of such patterns, Mr. Quarcoo stresses the importance of giving back to one's native country. ASA Campus activities The African Students Association gets involved in various activities both on and off campus, including tutoring mathematics and sciences to local high school students. They also participate in Black History Month, work alongside the NAACP, and organize events with other student organizations such as Club Creole, an ethnic organization often referred to as "the first daughter of Africa." The Association is also very invol ved with the Institute for US African Relations at USF. Africa Week In the spring semester every year, an Africa Week is held to celebrate African culture on the USF campus. Included in the week's events are poetry readings and cinema viewings in order t o expose people to African traditions and methods of expression. The week culminates in an "African Night" of drama and dancing. "[Students] get more enlightenment about what Africa is and who African people are and change their perceptions." Future o f the ASA The future of the African Students Association, Mr. Quarcoo asserts, is entirely dependent upon the evolving composition of the organization as priorities change and the participation rises and falls. Additionally, while he was fortunate to be gr anted admission just before September 11, 2001, many other international students have experienced difficulties as a result of increasingly stringent migration and exchange policies. "I was very very lucky," reflects Quarcoo. September 11; National secur ity Mr. Quarcoo recalls that he was on campus as the tragic events of September 11, 2001 transpired in New York City and Washington D.C. "It's a shock what people can do to this great country People come from all countries and they make it here when you come here you can do a lot of things I think the country has become more secure." End of Interview
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h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Andrew Huse.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (44 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 expanded summary (digital, PDF file)
USF 50th (2006) anniversary oral history project
Interview conducted January 7, 2004.
Joseph Quarcoo, Graduate Assistant in Mathematics at the University of South Florida, speaks about the African Students Association's current role at USF and also its history and future. Additionally, Mr. Quarcoo discusses the differences between education in his native country of Ghana, and in the United States.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
University of South Florida.
University of South Florida.
College of Arts and Sciences.
Huse, Andrew T.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
y CLICK HERE TO ACCESS DIGITAL AUDIO AND EXPANDED SUMMARY