Student from Haiti studies marketing
Gael Claude is a marketing major at Lansing Community College. Photo by Mallory Stiles
By Mallory Stiles
Between Cuba and the Dominican Republic is a portion of the island known as Haiti, a sovereign nation since 1804, translated as “the land of the high mountains.”
There are blue skies and crystal-clear beaches for miles, but there are also travel advisories for American citizens due to high crime rates and civil unrest.
Among LCC students, it is best to ask Gael Claude, who was born and raised in South Haiti or “Cayes.” He describes this area as lush and peaceful.
“Haiti is nothing like what you see on the news; they don’t show how beautiful it is,” Claude said.
Claude is a 25-year-old marketing major who is currently taking five courses. His classes are Public Relations, Marketing on the Internet, Sales, Principles of Management and Creative Thinking for Business.
LCC has helped him find his passion and Claude is forever grateful.
“The teachers here are different,” he offered. “They create a safe space for you to share your opinion. You can speak freely.
“It’s funny because I just chose something random, but after a few classes I found I really loved it. I hope to get my master’s in marketing, then move somewhere hot like Florida or California.”
He speaks French, English, Haitian Creole and is currently learning Spanish. In his spare time, Claude likes to play soccer or basketball.
Even though Haiti is home, America has given him much to love, Claude said, including the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series and the TV show “Friends.”
“I came to America in 2019 at 22 years old,” Claude said. “The biggest change was learning how to go through life by myself.
“In Haiti, we do everything together and are careful to leave no one behind, but here no one has time to talk. In Haiti, we make time.”
He also said that no matter what his schedule is, he stops every day at 4:30 p.m. to catch up with friends and do something they all can enjoy.
His sister, Vaina Claude, said she is certain her little brother is going places.
“He is very dedicated but has so much love for those in his life,” Vaina said. “He always makes me laugh. He is sensitive and kind.
“My brother has always been there for me and his nephew, no matter how busy he is. He could do so many great things, but I see his future in working with people.”
There is something to be learned from how Claude lives his life, carefree but always hungry for improvement.