Our CultureLink Tea program provides our international students the oppurtunity to present on their home countries. Join ISS every month for a country presentation, tea and desserts!
Teas are free and open to the entire St. Thomas community!
Meet Our Students
Samali Mutazindwa, Ugandan student, has big plans for her future. Currently waiting on her admission decision to the graduate pubic policy program; she is finishing her semester with eagerness to start the next chapter of her life. Mutazindwa always wanted to work with people saying: “I decided to study Social Work before I came here. I knew that I was more likely to work with people if I went into that field. I chose Justice and Peace Studies [as my second major], because it covers the topics that I find most interesting”.
Arriving in Minnesota in August 2009, Mutazindwa admits that she was hesitant to study in America. “I had mixed feelings; surreal almost. I didn’t want to stay, but I didn’t want to leave”, she confesses. It’s evident that she didn’t have trouble fitting in and meeting people. Between every two to five minutes, one student after another stops by to greet her. During her time at St. Thomas, she has managed to participate in several clubs, but is most active in GMSA serving as a board member for public relations, and organizing events at the Luann Dummer Center for Women. Mutazindwa enjoys the diversity of the people on campus. She has not only has learned about other students’ cultures, but has found herself embracing her own culture.
The biggest adjustment for Mutazindwa to make was the fast pace American lifestyle and the Minnesota weather. Adapting quickly to “doing something every single minute”, she took the initiative to take leadership roles to help her grow more confident interacting with other students. Reflecting upon what she has learned during her time here, Mutazindwa says that her level of responsibility has grown tremendously. “ I learned the values of my hard work, and living in an area without any relatives”. Although she may not have any blood related kin in the Twin Cities, she has gained support through her friendship family relationship that is sponsored by International Student Services.
While she does miss her family in Kampala, she is able to schedule time to Skype with them every Sunday. Her plans for the future consist of starting a nonprofit called Maysha (meaning “life” in Swahili) that focuses on public health with her friends here and in Uganda like Netsanet Negussie, Philipo Dyuali, Keith Seremba as well as Mathew Vicknair among other students. Enthusiastic that it will be successful; the mission statement says it will bring “hope beyond medicine”. Mutazindwa is optimistic, and she shares that as her life philosophy, stating: “Be hopeful and positive about everything. You never know where life will take you, or what doors may open”.
My name is Ismail Isabirye. I am a current UST student graduating on May 25th, 2013. My major is Information Systems (computer science) and I am also admitted to a graduate program in software engineering and already taking classes in that program. I am scheduled to graduate in Spring of 2014.
I am from Uganda, and first came to the US on May 21, 2009. Life looked a little different from my point of view at that time - talk about the cultural differences! As time passed, I have made friends both from America and other parts of the world. St. Thomas has just opened up a whole new perspective on the world for me. Meeting students from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds was very interesting. Before coming to the U.S. I thought I was the only different person that I knew. I thought everybody else was the same and therefore I thought I couldn't fit in. But boy, I was totally wrong. St. Thomas would simply not stop surprising me, the cultural diversity and interaction is just unbelievable to me. This has been a very positive experience for me and has been self- educating and uplifting in all the best positive ways possible.
I come from a large family, I am the 8th of the 12 siblings and my elder brother turned 41 years old in March of 2013. We pretty much drew examples from him. He is a teacher specializing in chemistry and mathematics. He used to teach at a single sex school (girls) in Uganda called Nabisunsa Girls Secondary School. In 2009 he left for Southern Sudan to provide help with improving the quality of education as they were in the process of achieving their political independence.
My plan for the future is to complete all the education necessary to be a power house in the technological revolution sweeping across the African continent: Uganda in particular is my principle target. I want to be an intellectual property lawyer. Since this is the field that has not been explored fully back home in Uganda , I am working hard to get admitted to the St. Thomas School of Law when I graduate with my masters.
I communicate with my family frequently on Facebook mostly with my sisters (7) but I call my dad every Sunday morning at 1 AM Minnesota time. He is a retired civil servant who worked for 35 years as a principle accountant in different Ugandan government ministries, last being the state house before he retired in 2010.