A Journey Far From Home


Samuel Boateng’s ride to Umass was not as easy as most other students. Sam is currently a junior in the journalism department with a goal to double major in communications as well.

Sam was born in Ghana, Africa and moved to Somerville, Mass. with his mom and his brother when he was seven years old. Now residing in Cambridge, Mass. when school is not in session, Sam took some time for a sit-down interview to discuss his very non-traditional path to Umass Amherst.

When he arrived here at seven, he pictured heaven, something like paradise. However, that is not what he got. His very first day here was a blizzard-like snow mixed with wet, sloppy mud – it was winter.

“It was mad snow and mud,” he said. Suffice to say his first day was nothing special.

Growing up in Somerville was a challenge. Attending a diverse school with Haitians, Jamaicans and other immigrants – Sam was ridiculed for his accent.

“It was different than normal,” he said. “People laughed.”

His mom had some strict guidelines for Sam and his twin brother, Emmanuel. “Go to school, come home and do your homework,” Sam recalls his mom saying.

But Sam, who is very outgoing didn’t let that stop him. Sam enjoys theater, poetry and short stories. Music, specifically rapping is also something he has fun doing.

Sam originally wanted to attend Northeastern University, but he didn’t get in. Samuel’s outgoing persona however, got him into Umass. Here he realized there were many options; he knew he would find something.

“A pharmacist, a journalist? I wasn’t sure,” said Sam. He came in undeclared. Then, as a second semester sophomore, Sam knew what he wanted to do. Now in his first semester as junior, this is where he wants to be, in the journalism department.

Sam knew he wanted to be at Umass, but is mom wanted something different. His mom wanted him to go to a smaller school, closer to home. Here is what Sam had to say about that:

“It was time to move on, and there is nothing she can do about that.”

I asked him if anything has changed, regarding his view of America, or the approach he takes in life, from the time he was seven – when he first got here, to now.

He said, “No, nothing’s changed.”

Meanwhile, Emmanuel is off at Mass Art in Boston on an art scholarship. Sam admires his brother’s work.

Sam did not start taking writing seriously until last year. Unlike his brother who has been heavily involved with art since high school.

Looking back, he said, “I would have improved like crazy. I didn’t take it [writing] seriously until last year per se.”

When I asked him if he thought, there was a chance he and his brother would ever do a collaborative, like a graphic novel, or short story. He said, “Oh yeah, definitely a collaborative in the future. We’ll do some work together.”

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