Senior Lives a Nomadic Life


Amanda Thomas, FCRH ’22, has called many places her home throughout her life. (Courtesy of Amanda Thomas for The Fordham Ram)

“Where are you from?” was the first question I asked Amanda Thomas, FCRH ’22, when we spoke. I figured this would be a nice, straightforward question to get the interview started, but my question was met with a soft laugh, as she knew my simple question would not be met with a simple answer. 

Amanda Thomas is a senior at Fordham University. She was born in New York, but when she was five years old, her parents decided to move back to Jamaica, where they were both born. By the time she got to high school, Thomas moved again, this time to China for her father’s job as an ambassador. After living in China for three years, her family relocated to Maryland. The family then returned to Jamaica, where Thomas graduated high school, only for Thomas to return to New York for college. 

For most teenagers, spending your entire childhood moving from place to place sounds like a social nightmare, but Thomas doesn’t struggle to make friends. She has fostered and sustained strong friendships in almost every city she has lived in. Her friends (and roommates) Lakumi Dias, FCRH ’22, and Samantha Higgins, FCRH ’22, explain that Thomas is one of those people that can make friends in any situation. She is outgoing, friendly and always willing to talk to everyone. Higgins explained that, when they go to events, Thomas makes sure to go around and speak to everyone she knows, “Amanda knows everybody everywhere, and everybody she meets instantly loves her.” Dias also adds that Thomas is very good at holding on to connections. While most people tend to let go of friends they don’t see often, Thomas maintains these relationships. 

Because Thomas is so good at holding onto connections, she now has friends all over the world. While living in China, Thomas’ core friend group was incredibly diverse, with friends from Canada, Germany, Czech Republic, Malaysia and Angola. Thomas says she often wonders what she would be like if she didn’t know people from all over the world. She believes she would probably be more ignorant as being around different people has allowed her to “unwork certain stereotypes she had about people before.”

Living in China also helped Thomas figure out what she wanted to do with her life. She explains that the way the news is reported there is very different from other places she has lived. Because certain things are censored or blocked, she began to ask herself, “How are people able to see the truth?” and “Who is there to help people see the truth?” Asking herself those questions made her realize that she could be the person to help. She consequently decided to pursue a career in journalism by majoring in journalism and minoring in Digital Technologies and Emerging Media (DTEM). This career path suits Thomas well as she loves to write and has a way of making people feel comfortable talking to her. 

Thomas is also a research assistant for the Bronx African American History Project (BAAHP), a projectdedicated to uncovering the cultural, political, economic and religious histories of the more than 500,000 people of African descent in the Bronx.” Since its founding in 2002, the BAAHP has interviewed over 300 local Bronx community members, accumulating a collection of oral histories that highlight the cultural, political and social history of the Bronx’s Black communities. As a research assistant, Thomas aids in research, transcribes interviews and fundraises for the BAAHP. “I mainly do work for the Garifuna Project, which is a small indigenous group from Central America and the Caribbean that have a population in the Bronx,” she said. Thomas also has an internship as a script writer for the Black Information Network at iHeartRadio.

Despite calling Jamaica home, Thomas sees herself living in New York in the future. She has a lot of family and friends here, and it is the perfect place to foster her career in journalism. However, Thomas is not afraid to move if she decides she doesn’t like it. “With moving around so much, if I didn’t like it [somewhere], I’d just leave, it wouldn’t be that big a deal.”