Orlando Lewis was raised in St. Catherine, Jamaica. He is an undergraduate student studying computer software engineering at Florida State University. Orlando shared his passion to follow his dream and especially inspire others along the way. All Orlando wants to do is to motivate people to take hold of their dreams, especially through the benefits of studying abroad. If you have not read his first interview, take a look.
For the last year, Orlando has been working at Florida State University’s College of Fine Arts. He is the only web developer in charge of their website. Orlando developed a WordPress plugin while working at the college. The plugin makes editing and mapping courses to degrees more conducive for the Art Department. After experiencing the benefits of studying abroad, Orlando is ready to take on his next challenge.
During your studies in the United States, to what extent do you feel Caribbean? Do you feel more or less close to Jamaica? Why?”
From when I started attending school in the US all the way up to now, my culture and accent have always been strong. I initially lived in Colorado. Not having a lot of Jamaican influence or culture around made me feel a little distant from home. Nonetheless, my roommates kept me together through those early days.
Have there been specific moments when you have felt homesick? How have you dealt with this?”
I have felt homesick frequently in the past — at this very moment, I still miss home. Despite missing Jamaica, I understand that this period in my life will pass. It is not forever and I will find my way back home once I finish my schooling.
How has FSU impacted you as a student, as a man, and as a future employee?”
As a student I have learned A LOT at FSU, both socially and academically. FSU offers a variety of clubs and events, which are completely different from the community college I went to in Colorado. As a man, there isn’t anything specific I can speak of at FSU that has helped me to develop. However, generally speaking, my move to Tallahassee has led to me gaining more responsibilities. Basically, moving away from family and surviving with my fiancé has definitely prepared me to be an adult more.
As a future employee, I have developed hard and soft skills that place me in an even better position for jobs at major companies. Right now, as I am seeking a job, the companies that I am able to impress are big tech companies. Hopefully I land one! Another thing is that FSU’s or other well-known colleges’ career fairs help to put students like myself in front of these major companies, which I truly appreciate.
You have always championed the importance of networking. What specific examples can you provide where it has helped you or you have helped others?”
Yes, networking has always played a major part in my life. Without it, I wouldn’t be here. I have always used LinkedIn to communicate with people like recruiters or just anyone that might be able to share some knowledge and insight.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?”
In the next five years I see myself being right with God, taking care of myself and family, and establishing my own company. My dream job is to be a founder, creator, or leader in the software development world. I would feel truly honored if I were able to create my own company within the next five years.
What impact has the pandemic had on your career opportunities?”
There hasn’t been a major impact because of the field I am in, which is software engineering. Fortunately, the job I have now and any I have looked at all can be done remotely, so I have been fine.
What are the greatest benefits of studying abroad?”
The benefits of studying abroad, especially coming from a developing country, are the extra opportunities available to me thanks to my relocation. However, what I have learned is that depending on your field, there might be more of a challenge in landing internships to gain experience within your field. Other than that, you gain so much knowledge and insight about different cultures while studying abroad. In return, you think more diversely, which will develop your skills.
What has been the biggest challenge of studying in the United States?”
The biggest challenge for me has been money. Being able to finance my way through college has been tough. If you aren’t strong minded, the stress and worry will ruin you.
You are a Jamaican student in the United States. What makes Orlando Lewis different from others with a similar background? What is your most authentic trait?”
I am a very driven individual and someone that will have plans for plans. Six years ago, I set out on this journey, and not once have I decided to end it. I tackled any issue that came at me. Another thing that stands out is that I honestly care about every line of code I write. I don’t want to get into software engineering for the money. I love what I do and fortunately it will benefit me and my family.
Orlando graduates in Summer 2021, after experiencing the benefits of studying abroad. We look forward to him passing this milestone as he has worked so hard. Below is one of the very first videos that he shared with us all the way back in 2018. We hope you find his tips as helpful now as we did then. Be on the lookout for further updates from Orlando in the future.