Earning a Master’s at the University of Northern Iowa
Elizabeth Baby from India is pursuing a degree in Post-Secondary Education: Student Affairs at UNI.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
United States is the land of world-class universities which offer quality education and abundant opportunities for international students. Student affairs is an important field of study in the higher education institutions in the U.S., and you get the chance to work with professionals in this field as you pursue your academics.
Why did you choose your university?
I chose University of Northern Iowa (UNI) primarily for its student affairs program. You get the opportunity to intern at various offices on campus from your second semester onwards. The program focuses on students getting hands-on experiences during their course of study thereby preparing them in advance as they enter their workforce.
What were some struggles you faced and how did you handle it?
The APA format was one which I struggled with the most as it was new to me. My professor gave all of us materials which had samples of how to do the in-text citation as well as the bibliography which really helped me to learn that.
Also, I struggled with understanding what the professors expect from my assignments. So, I used to send the assignments to them to get their feedback. They used to give me detailed feedback and this helped me to structure my assignments well.
What is your favorite place on campus?
I love the Botanical Center the most. It is always green and warm. During winters, it is my safe haven to escape from the cold. I love to go there and read as it is calm, and sitting in between all the plants is refreshing and calming.
What do you want to do after graduation?
I want to continue to work in higher education and help students as they navigate their college life. I had amazing people around me who made me understand that moving to a new country and building my life here is not as scary as it seems. I would like to do the same for the incoming students as well.
What are some of your summer plans?
During summer I will be working with the Office of International Engagement. I have been appointed as the administrative assistant for CIEP (Culture and Intensive English Program) to assist with documentation needs of current CIEP students, collaborate on orientation activities and other special projects.
Does your university organize any fun events you’ve attended or are looking forward to?
The Campus Activities Board organizes a lot of fun activities for students throughout the week to help them de-stress. The Office of International Engagement also organizes short trips, weekly coffee hours, and other events for the international students.
The Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center (GBPAC) has various concerts and shows. They have Broadway shows once a semester and students get two free tickets per semester. I have been to a few concerts here and I love that. As the semester is almost coming to an end, I am looking forward to what new shows GBPAC offers in the fall and am excited to attend that.
Have you traveled around the U.S.? What were some of your favorite places, or where would you like to go?
I have not got the chance to travel much. In February I visited Kansas City and I loved the neighborhoods there. I was in awe of all the pretty houses. I will be going to Wisconsin with my friends after the finals, and I am looking forward to that. Chicago is one place that is on my bucket list and I hope to do that soon.
What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a student?
As a student and member of the International Student Promoters, I was able to take part in the homecoming parade which was super fun. Even though it was freezing cold, we all were very much excited and had a wonderful time distributing candies and buttons to people and kids on the streets who came to cheer for us as we walked. This was also my first experience of taking part in a parade and I am excited for the next homecoming to do that again.
Describe your experience in three words.
It would be very difficult to summarize my experience into just three words because it is much more than that, but I would say that it has been “new, challenging, and exciting.”
What would you tell students who are considering studying in the USA?
I would tell all the new students that life in the U.S. is not easy. You will have your struggles. But there are resources and people out there to help you. The only thing that you need to do is ask for help when you need it. This is one of the biggest lessons that I have learned here. Make use of all the opportunities that you get and upgrade yourself.
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