A student traveled from the tropics of Africa to the bosque of Los Lunas to achieve his lifelong dream of obtaining an education.

Nuhu Alhassan, a native of Ghana, said he is attending the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus and is working toward his nursing degree.

“When I get my degree, I want to set up clinics just for communities that lack these amenities,” Alhassan said.

Alhassan decided to become a nurse after his experiences as a health prefect and president of the Red Cross Society in his high school. Later, he became the health master of a school where he taught for a year, he said.

“I just want to help people.he said. “There are a lot of villages that are very poor; many have no clinics. It is my passion to get a degree and go back.”

Alhassan’s experiences in New Mexico have been very different from what he had experienced in Ghana.

“Everything in Ghana is different,” Alhassan said. “At the school that I went to, we didn’t have computer labs. It’s not easy in Ghana. We have to pay school fees from kindergarten to college. Most people end up dropping out because they can’t afford it.”

Alhassan has attended UNM-VC for two semesters and is living in Peralta with the parents of Paul Sanchez, who helped Alhassan get his student visa.

Sanchez said he met Alhassan while the two were working at the U.S. embassy in Ghana.

“I was fortunate enough to work in Ghana for four years and Nuhu worked for me,” Sanchez said. “It was a very positive experience living in a developing nation. This is a way for me to give back to Ghana.”

Kat Elwell, public information representative for the UNM Global Education Office, said the office extends many services that include study abroad programs to students like Alhassan.

The GEO helps international students and exchange students throughout their UNM educations, and also provide overall support for international students, she said.

When Alhassan becomes a registered nurse, he said he plans to return to Ghana and work to better the healthcare of the local communities and help his community,

“It’s something I want to do; that I must do. That is my goal, and I hope and pray I am able to accomplish this,” Alhassan said.

Katreena Kirkland is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at culture@dailylobo.com.