At Northwestern, there are 40 international students representing 24 different countries. With a campus size of 1,200, 40 does not seem like much at a glance, but when thought of in terms of individual people each with their own stories to tell, the number seems much larger.
Three of these unique individuals in attendance this year are freshmen Nate Tjernagel, Alexandra Boursiquot and Ali Almail.
Tjernagel is from Cáceres, Spain. He is an exercise science major who loves sports, people and missionary work. Tjernagel has a few reasons why he decided to go to NW.
“The United States has more choice than in Spain and a lot more job opportunities since the employment rate is 21 percent there,” Tjernagel said.
Tjernagel also credits the fact that his older sister is a sophomore here at NW as another reason he chose this school.
Moving from Spain all the way to small town Iowa has not been as much of a challenge as Tjernagel expected. Moreover, he loves meeting all the new people.
The only struggles are listening to classes in English rather than Spanish, as well as not having time every day to take naps. Still, Tjernagel has taken all that he has learned here so far and created some advice for students.
“Take advantage of the community,” Tjernagel said. “Take every chance you have to do something fun. Even if you’re stressed, it’s a good time to break and see God in different ways.”
Another new international student this year is sophomore biology-health professions and Spanish double major Alexa Boursiquot. Originally from Haiti, Boursiquot hopes to become a doctor while in the United States and then return to Haiti to help her people.
Boursiquot speaks four different languages: French, Creole, English and Spanish. She even teaches her friends how to speak these languages just for fun.
Her choice to attend NW was made due to a board member who encouraged her to check it out. She fell in love with the small school feel and the similarities to the Catholic schools in which she had grown up. Boursiquot also has been able to take her experiences so far at NW and create some words of wisdom for the students here.
“I think we better enjoy the warm weather until it goes away,” Boursiquot said.
Finally, a third new international student is freshman bio-health major Ali Almail. Almail has an art minor that he says could potentially turn into a major. Almail is a dual- citizen of both Canada and Bahrain. His mother is Canadian while his father is Bahraini, so his time has always been split between the two countries.
He chose NW due to its community. He encourages the student body to slow down.
“Take time to enjoy the simple things around you,” Almail said. “The sunrise, the sunset, the trees; we get so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget how everything is around us.”
These are just three of the 40 international students at NW this year. All of them have a different story and bring something new and unique to the community here at NW.