Laureate Student Perspectives: David Nelson Bassey, INTI International University & Colleges

David Nelson Bassey graduated with honors from INTI International University & Colleges in 2017. In this interview, David shares with us lessons learned as a first-generation student, the amazing opportunites he experienced as a Laureate student, and how he is using the education he received to serve his native country, Nigeria.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I grew up in Delta State Nigeria. I’m the youngest of three children, and always had big dreams of becoming very successful and taking my parents around the world because my mom wanted to be a pilot growing up, but  gave up her dreams to give me and my siblings the opportunity to fulfill ours.

What value did your family place on education? How did that play out as you grew up and influence your desire to go to university?

Neither of my parents received formal secondary or higher education. Having lived through the industrial revolution of the 1980’s, they missed out on several opportunities because of the lack of education. However, they placed a very high value on being formally educated. My parents promised to do whatever it took to train my siblings and I through formal education structures, including university, so that we were able to have the opportunities that they did not have. They have proven their determination and courage by ensuring that their children are well educated.

How did INTI satisfy your expectations in choosing a university?

I was lucky to have found a university that met three criteria for me: affordable cost, high academic standards, and rich student life. INTI was a financially affordable choice for my parents. Its classrooms were intellectually stimulating, a majority of the students were academic achievers, and student holistic development was a core element of their values. Its membership to the Laureate network also proved without doubt, that internationalization was essential to the student experience, as well as its global relevance. It was an honor to benefit from the value-added initiatives of INTI and the Laureate network,  and graduate as the valedictorian of the class of 2017, as well as the highest ranked Mechanical Engineering student.

How has attending an institution that values internationalization positively impacted your outlook on the world, your interactions with people, and your career?

The greatest transformation in a person’s life is the renewal of the mind. This happens through reading books or meeting people who you admire. It was Ken Blanchard who wrote, “You will be the same person five years from today, unless for the people you meet and the books you read.” The international experiences I have had, like interviewing world leaders about their motivations, their story, and their passion, opened up a renewed zeal for me to dream bigger. Experiences like being chosen to host the INTI Leadership Series across the different university campuses nationwide gave me a wider network and knowledge. As a speaker and trainer, these experiences also opened up more doors and opportunities for me to engage with leaders across different levels, and expand my professional portfolio.

You have recently graduated from the engineering program and moved back to Nigeria. Congratulations – that’s extremely exciting! What work are you currently doing?

Currently, I am serving my country as a member of the National Youth Service Corps program, while I work as an engineer at an automotive company in the federal capital city of Abuja. Additionally, I run my own company that is focused on nation building. I am passionate about the rebuilding of my nation’s identity and creating stronger and more effective institutions, I speak, teach and organize monthly workshops promoting our national values and empower youth and adults for effectiveness.

What are three pieces of advice that you’d give to students around the world?

1. Always think of ways to increase your value. Develop yourself as much as you possibly can. Do not hesitate to do the things that will stir your soul.
2. Be friendly. Build relationships. You do not have to be a great social person, just be nice, respectful, and be helpful. Build inspiring friendships with people older than you (lecturers), your mates, and your juniors. You never know where your next lucky break might come from.
3. Take away excuses from your life. Never excuse bad behavior in your own life. Never excuse laziness. Never excuse destructive habits. Never excuse failure. Never excuse mediocrity.