Terefe Ejigu is a runner on the Eastern Michigan University men’s cross country team from Wellington, New Zealand. He arrived at EMU four years ago on an athletic scholarship and is eager to earn a degree from EMU.
Ejigu first started competitively running in high school. He said his coach was the first to encourage him to get involved in running, and the only other sport he has been involved in besides cross country is track and field.
In addition to running, Ejigu said he enjoys going to church, reading books and learning about American culture, since he is still new to the country. As a part of learning the culture, he said that he enjoys the AMC drama “Breaking Bad.”
Ejigu and his family are Ethiopian. His favorite food is a traditional Ethiopian dish called doro wat, which is essentially the Ethiopian equivalent of chicken curry or chicken stew.
He has two favorites when it comes to professional sports: soccer and boxing. His favorite professional athlete is former Ethiopian Olympic marathoner Abebe Bikila, who is most famous for winning a gold medal during the 1960 Olympic Games while running barefoot.
Ejigu is an international affairs major and said there are two potential careers he hopes to pursue after graduating from EMU this spring. He would like a career in either human resources or healthcare administration.
Ejigu said his biggest accomplishment is running a five-mile race in a personal record time of 23 minutes and 15 seconds.
On campus, Ejigu said his favorite place to eat is the Commons because he likes going there with his cross country teammates.
His favorite music is Ethiopian music, especially from musician Tilahun Gessesse. He said he also enjoys jazz, specifically jazz artist Jamie Cullum.
Growing up, Ejigu said his family struggled in obtaining daily necessities like food and water, but things changed for him in high school when he started running.
Ejigu said his favorite place he’s traveled is Taupo, New Zealand, because it is “one of the best places to visit in New Zealand.”
Ejigu’s favorite television show is an Ethiopian drama titled “Sew le Sew.” He describes it as a show that is similar to “Breaking Bad.” What makes it unique is most of its characters depict the life of a small percentage of rich Ethiopians, which is not a representation of the majority of the population.
As a senior, Ejigu said the question of what he takes away most from his time here at EMU is a difficult one.
“This is a tough question, because I have gained so many valuable life lessons here at [EMU],” Ejigu said. “Running at a college level has made me well-disciplined when it comes to managing school work, practice, work and social life. Here at [EMU] I have realized that success is addictive,
whenever I win a competition or get an A in class I get motivated to work harder. I believe being surrounded by the best professors, talented coaches and welcoming teammates has been the main drive for my continued development over the years. I will always treasure my time at [EMU].”