“If I would go back in time to meet my teenage self, living in Albania, I am convinced she wouldn’t believe me where life would have taken her. My mind was set in stone to pursue my undergraduate degree in Europe, until the day I received an email from Northern State University!
This was not the first time an American university reached out to me. I decided to go through the process. In less than two months, I had everything I needed to start this new chapter across the ocean. I packed my life, said goodbye to my loved ones, and came to study at Northern.
My journey had ups and downs as I balanced my academic and social life. I worked on campus and got involved in different clubs. I used all the opportunities NSU had to work closely with staff and faculty. Northern offered me a great education and professional staff, who cared so much about my success. You are not just a number at NSU! You matter! This makes it easier to find yourself when you move to a new country, new culture, thousands of miles from home.
I met wonderful people during my time working at the tutoring center, such as Vicki Evans, who does a wonderful job with her tutors and students. I would highly recommend Northern State University to anyone who is looking for a good education in preparation for countless career opportunities.”
- Adela Alinani, 2021 graduate, Phoenix, Arizona
“My name is Jarreth Martina, mostly known as JJ. I am from Willemstad, Curacao, a small Dutch island in the Caribbean Sea. I came to Northern State University as a transfer student from Cloud County Community College to run track and field. NSU is the place I discovered who I am and that I had more to offer than running. I realized that you only go to college once. The opportunities you get at a university, you must take advantage of and utilize your time wisely. I decided to be more than a student-athlete.
I joined several clubs and organizations for personal and professional development. I joined the NSU choir, learned Mandarin, and went to study abroad in China. I got to know people from all over the world, learned about a new culture. This was the best and a very profound experience.
I started working in the Office of International Programs, where I had daily interactions with students from all over the world. My international advisor and supervisor saw my passion for higher education, and they encouraged me to look into the professional side of the field. I presented at NAFSA conferences on Culture Shock and Reverse Culture Shock, and I received the Student of the Region Award. These accomplishments helped me grow, and I decided to join the NSU student government to represent international students on campus. I also started a Multicultural club on campus and brought American and international students together to celebrate and embrace different cultures.
I graduated from Northern with my Bachelor's in International Business. I also received my Master's in Educational Studies. During my graduate years, I continued to work with the Office of International Programs as a graduate assistant. Working with OIP gave me a further look into higher education, and after graduation, I started working at St. Cloud State University in Saint Cloud, Minn., as an admissions counselor. I love what I do because I get to work and interact with students daily and hear their stories. I am now pursuing my Doctorate in Higher Ed Administration, and I also coach the SCSU running club.
NSU has changed my life in many ways. It has paved my way to success. It taught me that college is more than a classroom, it’s a whole experience! Even though I am not at NSU anymore, I will always remember the beautiful memories I made there and the people I met. I will keep sharing the passion and knowledge that I gained while at NSU. Go Wolves!”
- JJ Martina, 2020 graduate, Saint Cloud, Minn.
At Northern State University, international students receive particular assistance from faculty and other entities on campus. Faculty and staff are always willing to visit with students who are seeking help with their studies and beyond.
The staff at the Office of International Programs is always available to help students with any acculturation or other difficulties. Also, students are in a caring and peaceful environment to focus on their studies.
Other than studying as a priority, Northern has multiple opportunities for students to develop leadership skills. The Honors Program and the International Students Club are some examples of opportunities for international students to network and learn how to become prominent leaders.
I am grateful for my time at Northern as an international student from Haiti, and for all the opportunities it has given me.”
- Betser Roney, 2021 graduate, Aberdeen, S.D.
“I chose Northern because I was impressed by the professors and the way that classes were held. I’m from South Korea and I used to have a one-way communication (teacher-centered instruction) in the classroom with my professors.
I came to Northern as an exchange student and everything changed. The professors led the classes along together and actively communicated and engaged with students. After I had experienced how engaging and enjoyable learning can be, I started talking about becoming a full-time student at Northern.
During my time at Northern, I was involved as an orientation leader and an international student club member. I also worked in the Office of International Programs focusing on the Study Abroad component. Working as a student employee with Study Abroad helped guide me into my current position.
I’ve been working as a Marketing Associate in New Jersey and I really enjoy what I'm doing. If I didn't get marketing experience firsthand through the study abroad office, I wouldn’t be so sure that I wanted a career in marketing.
- Sunny Park, 2020 graduate, Aberdeen, S.D.
“Growing up in South Dakota my entire life, I never thought about living abroad. I came to Northern with the plan of getting my education degree and finding a teaching job somewhere nearby. However, nothing ever goes according to plan. I had to take a Spanish class as a requirement my sophomore year of college and I ended up falling in love with the language.
I studied abroad in Santiago, Chile, this past summer and that experience completely changed my life. There is a vast difference between visiting an area and becoming completely immersed/living there. I knew immediately after my month in Chile I HAD to live abroad.
I attended an international job fair for educators that the Office of International Programs suggested in Boston and had several interviews with schools all around the world. The question every school asked me was, “Why do you want to teach internationally?” The answer to that is simple. I am too comfortable in South Dakota. I realized after Chile that going completely out of your comfort zone, doing things that absolutely terrify you, are essential for personal growth and development. Living internationally gives you an authentic lens of the people and culture.
I accepted a position as a grade 7 English and History teacher for a school in Vilnius, Lithuania. I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure where Lithuania was before my interview. I’m not an expert on the world or traveling; I get lost driving in Aberdeen. You don’t need to be an expert navigator or speak another language to travel. The generosity of other cultures will surprise you. Studying abroad made me realize there are so many beautiful areas to see, wonderful people to meet and amazing food to try. Money returns, time does not. Get out of your comfort zone and experience the world!”
- Karlie Brown, 2020 graduate, Sioux Falls, S.D.
“This past summer, I studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, for four weeks. The experience was amazing, and I am so glad I decided to go! The culture was different from that of the U.S., and South Dakota too. The people walked almost everywhere, use mopeds or motorized scooters and enjoyed their afternoon siesta. Now, most will be told that siesta is a few hours in the mid-afternoon when everything closes, and people go home and nap. However, I was surprised to learn that during this time people go home, eat lunch with their families and prepare for the rest of the day.
The meals in Salamanca differ too. Breakfast is not a staple in the daily routine like it is for many in the States. Lunch is the heartiest meal and is served around two in the afternoon, and supper is served around eight in the evening. Meal times run late as the day-to-day lives do too! Most like to go out to spend time with friends after supper. The temperature begins to cool off between seven and nine in the evenings, so it’s the best time to hit the town!
I loved the beautiful town of Salamanca and stunning Spain every second of the program! I am so glad that I had the opportunity to travel abroad! The idea of it felt so far out of reach but the NSU study abroad team helped me realize that with a few short steps, and a couple of meetings, I could make my dreams a reality!
Through this experience, I learned that I am much more capable of doing things on my own than I believed before. This experience made me more confident in my own skin and made me leap out of my comfort zone. I would 100 percent jump at the chance to study abroad again! One of the best decisions of my life.”
- Itzel Sanchez, sophomore, Aberdeen, S.D.