When CJ Iwu decided to attend college at the American University of Nigeria, many of his classmates didn’t understand why. He graduated high school in Minnesota and made the decision to attend college halfway across the world in West Africa. It was a big risk for CJ to take, as he had to leave his friends, family, and everything he’s ever known to attend college in West Africa, but it’s proven to be well worth it.
CJ admits that he was shy in his high school years. He says, “I had very low self-esteem. I grew up not confident, not comfortable in my own skin, and was very emotional. I also dealt with crippling insecurity to the point where I’d work out at home instead of going to the community gym.”
His past struggles made committing to AUN even more of a leap of faith for CJ. Even though assimilating to the culture of a West African university was a challenge, his idea of starting his own vlog on YouTube was a game-changer for him. The show, dubbed AUNwithCJ, details CJ’s experiences of what it’s like attending AUN as an American student, all from his perspective.
The show is very well produced, and CJ works with several producers to make the weekly episodes as well as trailers, cinematics, closed captions, and more. CJ started the show because he simply couldn’t find content on an American student attending an African college, and has taken great pride in putting out weekly content at a very high level.
Even though consistently making content for the show all while taking the class and adapting to life in Nigeria was very challenging, CJ has persisted through it all. When asked what motivates him to continue making episodes regularly, he simply replied, “I persist for the people who were in my shoes back when I was a senior in high school. Who am I to leave my story unwritten when who knows how many people need the full story? I trudge through the obstacles and continue writing my story so I can serve as a word of wisdom for the students who come after me.”
CJ has matured greatly during his time at AUN. He now greets everyone he sees on campus with a warm greeting and a smile, something that would’ve been challenging for him just a few years prior. He’s gone all-in on leveling himself up, and the rest has simply fallen into place.
Published by Jason Steinberg