Marcus Mabella “I used to be so scared. I’d think, ‘Oh man! How can I talk with this guy? He’s an American!’ But now I’ve got the confidence to talk with anybody at SMC.”

The above quote from Marcus Mabella of Tanzania is pretty typical of the thoughts of young people who come to SMC from afar. And the sheer courage they have—to leave country and culture and family to make a new life—is something every SMC student should be aware of. “I have changed so very much at SMC, because I thought I could never match up with people here,” says Marcus. “But both my brother and I have come to see that there are no real barriers here, and that you can join into the life in any way you want to. It has come to the point where some people think I’m American,” says Marcus with a laugh. “But I tell them, ‘No, no. I’m African!’ And I feel I should be very proud of that.”

If Marcus has made a thorough adjustment to life in the US of A, he’s nevertheless determined to be a thorough internationalist—a citizen of the world. “I met my girlfriend at SMC, and one day, we will go to Africa and to Japan together,” says Marcus. “We want to meet each others’ families, and I want, personally, to feel like I know as much as I can about her culture.” But it’s Africa—and the welfare of its struggling peoples—that keep Marcus looking homeward.

“Both my brother and I are studying computers here, and the classes are very, very good. I want to go into computer programming, and then go back home to help my country and my people,” says Marcus. “We’re a democratic country, and more people are using computers in business and education. But the economy is not so good, and with my degree, I feel I can do a lot to help out.” Marcus adds that, “My parents have sacrificed everything for us to go to college, and soon—when they need to retire—my brother and I must be there to take care of them. They’re proud of us, and now it is time for us to care for them.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.