What is your background?: I am an International student at Kirkwood. It’s been five months since I came to the United States. It was the very first time I came away from family and the most fascinating part was that it was my first flight experience. Traveling alone across seven seas was whole new adventure for me. I am originally from Mumbai, India. I belong to a middle-class family and come from an underprivileged community where girls like me hardly get an opportunity to live the life they want. I am blessed to have a family that has always encouraged and supported me. My family consists of five members (father, mother, elder sister and a younger brother). I completed my education (up to 10th grade) in a convent and then enrolled into college in Mumbai. Back in my country, I am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (Humanities) and majoring in English Literature. While studying in order to support my education, and contribute to my family, I also worked part-time with a non-profit organization for two years.
What brought you to Kirkwood and why?: I am here on a scholarship that is fully funded by the US State Department through the Community College Initiative (CCI) program. The program provides scholarships to international students to spend up to one academic year at U.S community colleges. CCI program participants are recruited from historically underrepresented and underserved communities. After completing the program, participants return home with new skills and expertise to help them contribute to the economic growth and development of their country. Students do not get an opportunity to choose the college they are been placed at and I am lucky to be placed at Kirkwood.
What is your program of study and what interests you about it?: My program of study is Business Administration: Management. I choose this field because my long-term goal is to start a non-profit organization in my community that will provide free of workshops for young adults to build and learn the skills essential to the professional world.
Are you involved in anything else on campus? If so, what and why?: This spring semester I will be in DECA, which is a business club. During my free time, I explore the campus, make new friends and try to teach them about my culture while also learning from them about theirs. I also try to actively participate in as many Student Life events as I can.
Are you involved in anything off of campus?: In the past five months, I have completed 100+ hours of community service at different organizations including The Salvation Army, The Iowa Equestrian Center, the American Heart Association, Habitat for Humanity, the Eastern Iowa Hindu Temple, and the Inter-Religious Council of Linn County. I also volunteered at the Chicago Marathon. I enjoy spending my time working for a good cause. It also helps me build my network.
What do you do for fun?: During my free time, I devote my time to volunteering or exploring downtown Cedar Rapids and trying different restaurants.
Where do you see yourself in five years?: Five years from now I see myself completing my Masters in Social Work and working with a non-profit organization to gain practical knowledge in order to accomplish my long-term goal of starting a non-profit for my community.