Scholars student on stage

Andrew Tawiah, a Justice and Legal Thought alum, grew up in Baltimore, Md., in a Ghanaian household. He says his background has influenced not only his drive for academic success--but also his taste in food.

#ScholarsMigrate: On the Drive for Academic Success

In support of our “Migrations” theme for 2018–2019, College Park Scholars is asking our students, alumni, faculty and staff to share some aspect of their migrations stories—be it the impact of their parents’ background as immigrants, their culture shock migrating to college or something else altogether. The following is the first of our Scholars’ stories.

Andrew Tawiah

Year: Senior

Scholars program: Justice and Legal Thought

My parents are natives of Ghana. They came to the United States in 1993 and eventually settled in Baltimore, Md., where I was born.

Growing up in a Ghanaian household, there were frequent family gatherings that involved Ghanaian food options such as rice, stew and plantains. To this day, if I want to make a simple meal, I make rice and stew—I taught myself how during my junior year, but it’s a trial-and-error experience. Sometimes I still miss it because I don’t cook as well as my mom does.

My Ghanaian background has also influenced my drive for academic success. My parents had to build anew when they moved to this country from Ghana, and many of my relatives moved to the country around the same time. They always encouraged us to do well in school. My father frequently asked me why I couldn’t get straight As, or why I didn’t perform better on the basketball court. Questions like these influenced my mentality toward school—they encouraged me to do so well that no one could question my accomplishments. My parents pushed me early on, and it has motivated me to stay focused at the University of Maryland.

My parents have not pressured me as much since I came to college. Now, the pressure comes from myself because my older brother is a UMD alum and he received a job offer during his senior year. I am proud of his accomplishments, and he inspires me to do well.


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