Max Olwa might be 9,000 miles from home, but he knows he’s in the right place at the right time.
“I came here from Kenya, but I feel like I’ve always been a part of this place,” he says. “Living in this community is uplifting — the housing is affordable, and the people are open.”
Olwa moved from his home country last year with his wife and two small sons to join MU’s MAGDJ program. After he earns his degree, he plans on moving back to Kenya to implement the development tactics and justice initiatives he’s learned.
Until then, he’s enjoying everything Multnomah has for him. “There are so many resources,” he says. “It seems like my family and I have always lived here; we’ve developed friendships with people, and some of them have watched our kids for free.”
Olwa loves that his boys are able to play with the other children in student housing. “My wife and I love to see our kids growing up in this community,” he says.
And living on campus provides Olwa unique opportunities to interact with fellow grad students. “We get to share our ideas and talk about the classes we’re taking,” he says.
Olwa attends class twice a week. “My favorite things about Multnomah so far are the lectures,” he says. He also appreciates the relationships that have blossomed in his classrooms. “Our cohort is really close,” he says “We all meet together outside of class a couple times a semester.”
The support Olwa has gotten from his cohort and university family has left a lasting impression. “One time, my family in Kenya had problems, and the people here contributed money to help them,” he says. “It’s not that this community is perfect — but how people handle things is perfect.”