University of Minnesota Crookston is lucky enough to have a wide variety of international students and three of those students include Madeleine Schneider, Tseten Gurung, and Tsebaot Getachew. These three come from their own unique backgrounds, and have formed a strong friendship that is sure to last a lifetime.
Schneider, who is from Gaertringen, Germany, is studying software engineering and information technology management. Back home, she has one older sister. Schneider is part of the UMN Crookston tennis team, and she enjoys cooking, being outside, and playing piano. Her favorite class overall at UMN Crookston was Human Interaction with Computers plus her research class. After graduation, she plans to find a job in software testing.
Gurung is from Mustang, Nepal, and is studying information technology management and cyber security. Gurung has one brother and two sisters, one of whom graduated from UMN Crookston in 2012. She loves eating spicy food, and she can speak four languages! Her favorite class has been Website Development. After graduation, Gurung plans to find a job in the United States.
Getachew is from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and at UMN Crookston, she studies health sciences. Getachew has one older sister and one younger brother. She, like Gurung, enjoys eating spicy foods, and watching movies. Getachew’s favorite class has been Microbiology. After graduation, she plans to also find a job in the United States.
Schneider, Gurung, and Getachew met in international orientation in fall 2021, and instantly became great friends. Coming from different cultural backgrounds, they say they have already learned so much from one another. They enjoy being able to learn about each other’s cultural traditions and norms.
“It’s a very comfortable, safe friendship,” Schneider said.
“It’s really nice to have someone around no matter what,” added Gurung.
Obviously moving to the United States and then to Crookston, Minnesota was a huge change for these students in many different ways. Schneider says her favorite part about UMN Crookston is all the opportunities there are since it’s such a small campus. She adds that she has been able to make close connections with so many people because the campus is so close-knit. Gurung’s favorite thing about UMN Crookston is the friendly, approachable people.
“As I pass people in the hallway, they’re always saying hello,” Gurung says, “This is not very common in my country.”
Getachew says she loves UMN Crookston’s professors. Seeing familiar faces all around campus makes her feel safe, comfortable, and at home.
“The smaller class sizes help me learn better, because I’m able to make connections with my teacher,” she added. “I don’t ever feel intimidated asking or answering questions in class.”
Schneider, Gurung, and Getachew enjoy eating together, chatting, watching movies, and they also love traveling to Grand Forks to get boba tea together. Their favorite memory as a friend group at UMN Crookston was the Feast of Nations event where they got to dress up, and enjoy different foods served that originated from different countries. They said this event was so much fun, and it was memorable because there was a specific photo taken of them where they looked extremely unamused, all with an annoyed look on their faces, even though they loved being there. They said the photo is so funny that they often make jokes about it, and they will never forget that moment.
Each student gave their own advice to future international students. Schneider’s advice is to get involved and break out of your shell.
“Don’t just stay doing what you’re comfortable with,” Schneider said. “Build experiences and use the resources presented to you, and don’t be afraid to reach out.”
Gurung’s advice was to attend as many events as possible and come out of your bubble.
“Explore, try new things, go on adventures,” Gurung said. “Do it all.”
Lastly, Getachew’s advice was to make friends who are outside of your normal friend ‘circle,’ and make a wide variety of friends while you can.
“Get to know people who are different from what you know, that way you can learn so many new things,” Getachew said.
Schneider, Gurung, and Getachew say they are so thankful for the wonderful friendship they’ve formed from their time at UMN Crookston. They complement each other so well, and their hobbies align, allowing them all to enjoy what they like with one another.
“We all just click,” Schneider pointed out.
“There is absolutely no drama; we are very chill, and always open to communication,” Getachew added.
Although Getachew graduates in fall 2024, and Schneider and Gurung both graduate in spring 2024, they all plan to stay in touch. Their friendship has blossomed since the beginning of their time at UMN Crookston, and they love the friendships they have formed with one another. Without the University of Minnesota Crookston, they may have never met and then they wouldn’t have the incredible friendship they have today.
Written for the March 2023 Torchlight e-Newsletter