International student finds success on campus, in the community

Student standing at podium_Betser Roney

Northern State University welcomes dozens of international students from all over the globe every year, and prides itself on helping said students achieve their goals and work towards obtaining their future careers.

One particular international student, the NSU School of Businesses’ Betser Roney, is known on campus for being high-achieving, involved in numerous NSU events and a great leader.

As an international student from Haiti, Roney came to Northern in 2017 from his home country to pursue his accounting degree and is anticipated to graduate in May 2021.

“I initially came to Northern because their profile and mission statement fit my needs,” Roney said. “My experience at NSU has been great. The business faculty and other teachers at Northern convince me to continue looking for success, adding value to myself, and improving my leadership skills.”

He also enjoys that he has the opportunity to connect with students from many different countries on campus, as well as the events and activities on campus that keep him motivated to study.

Roney’s student experience hasn’t been without his challenges, he mentions, as he feels like there are definitely times where he isn’t performing at his best during his classes.

“Fortunately, the teachers at Northern dedicate a lot of time to helping students with their difficulties in class and Northern has so many resources,” he said. “For example, the library and the tutoring center is so helpful to students in overcoming topics they don’t understand.”

The international office on campus has also been particularly helpful to Roney and other international students with assisting them in enjoying their time in Aberdeen.

Worked Hard in Haiti

Before coming to Northern, Roney worked hard in Haiti as he came from a low class family–like most families from his home country–doing jobs for his father. He would also work odd jobs for others who inquired.

“America and Haiti are so completely different,” Roney said. “America is well developed, there is political stability, a strong sense of freedom, and so many opportunities.”

Roney compared the two countries as complete opposites, down to their weather patterns. While there is up to half a year of cold weather in parts of America, Haiti has no winter season.

“I don’t mind the weather,” Roney joked. “Haitians have a quality of surviving in any environment, no matter what.”

Roney also talked about the different family dynamics in Haiti, and that children aren’t necessarily free to make their own decisions–even after reaching the age of 18.

“Before coming to America I was under absolute control of my parents,” said Roney. “Unlike America, where a child is free to make their own decisions and be independent at 18, a Haitian person will legally become an adult at 18, but most parents do not care about this rule. It is also incredibly difficult to make your way to America from Haiti. The chances of success are low, but occasionally, in my case, I tried and was able to make it a possibility!”

Happy to be at Northern

Now, Roney is glad to be studying in America and pursuing his accounting degree at Northern. Roney’s favorite aspect of studying at Northern are the experiences he has gained.

“Being a student at Northern doesn’t revolve solely around going to class and taking exams,” he said. “There are so many clubs on campus where students can start working on their leadership skills and can have those experiences on how to work with a team or in a group. Studying at NSU has also given me the chance to be part of the Aberdeen community and has shown me what to anticipate after college.”

Roney doesn’t have his eye on any specific jobs yet, but knows he wants a career where he can help others who are struggling with their financial issues, and potentially be a team leader.