It's been two years since I begun my studies here at UNI. Two years had passed at the blink of an eye and now I'm one step closer to graduation. I've been really worried with graduation preparations. Fortunately, after asking the relevant personnel about graduation registration and preparations, I learned about the Graduation Fair organized by our UNI family. I also received an invitation on my Facebook page and made sure I attended it. The Graduation Fair has everything I needed for graduation: from filling up graduation forms on the spot, purchasing my gown and cap, to the Record Analysts standing by to make sure we have enough credit hours to attend the commencement ceremony, and even an official Photoshoot! It was a one stop service for all the students who were graduating. All my initial worries disappeared and I settled everything in one place!
Graduating also brought to light the many memories I've made here at UNI. UNI has over 250 clubs and organizations that, not only you can join for the fun of it, but also benefit your future careers. I've been involved with many student organizations including ISP, ISA and CATS, but of all of them, I would love to share an organization I've been very passionate about called UNI RISE. UNI RISE stands for University of Northern Iowa Refugees and Immigrants Support and Empowerment. UNI RISE seeks to support and empower the Cedar Valley newcomers through service and advocacy by providing English tutoring, mentoring, and childcare to refugees and immigrants relocated here in the Cedar Valley community. UNI RISE also aims to empower immigrant and refugee leaders, advocate politically on behalf of all immigrants, and educate ourselves and the community about global and local issues related to refugee services and immigration. I am one of the language curriculum developers for the First United Methodist Church Burmese Refugee English tutoring. I tutor English every Saturday to Burmese refugees and immigrants. Every now and then, I help translate for them when they need me. Even if they only learn one word at the end of tutoring, I know that I'm making a difference here by helping them. Giving back to my own people gives me so much joy and ultimately humbles me.
There are so many privileges of being a student here at UNI. As an international student coming to America, I always worried about the food that I will be eating in US. UNI not only has TWO award-winning Dining Centers -Piazza and Rialto -, but UNI also provides multiple food courts at the Maucker Union, the ROD Library and on 23rd Street Market. All of these food centers are walking distance from all our academic buildings and residence halls. They provide a lovely place to hang out with friends. The best part is the different menus and specials for each day. As a UNI student, we don’t need to carry cash along, we only need our student ID. The student ID is a privilege one-card-for-all: a credit card for the food courts inside the university that sends your charges directly to U-Bill, loan books and equipments from the library, buy tickets to games and shows, accesses to rooms you are entitled to, and acts as a key to my residence apartment. I can roam around the campus with just my ID. I've studied in several countries before coming to UNI and I've never had this kind of convenience before. I love being here at UNI and I am also proud to be a part of the UNI family. #GoPanthers!!
- Thin Myat Win @ Amreen Ali Mohamed, Communications Major