Ynis I.

When applying for schools, let's just say that the College of Saint Benedict wasn't on my list, let alone Minnesota. As an international student, the only thing I knew about Minnesota was that Big Time Rush, a show on Disney Channel, was from St. Cloud, Minnesota (I later found out that they weren't even Minnesotans in real life-I was quite sad about this). When applying for schools, my mom and I wanted a Catholic school. We heard about Saint Ben's from a student who was attending Saint John's Prep at that time and decided to look it up. I liked it and decided to apply even though I had never visited the school.

I later got accepted to Saint Ben's for the spring semester which was earlier than I had expected to start school since in Rwanda our school year ends October-November. I wasn't excited to accept an offer from a place I'd never been, and also every time I told someone about Minnesota they always talked about the cold. My dad encouraged me to go for it and that there is no loss because if I didn't like it I could always transfer. My mom and I flew out here to St. Joseph in January, and I don't remember feeling that cold in my entire life, the wind was so strong and cold that I was constantly crying.

My mom and I loved the school and the community here. It made my mom feel safe that she could leave me in a place that was this safe and had similar Catholic beliefs that I had grown up with. I've loved my time here at Saint Ben's, I love my economics major, my friends, I am able to influence and help other international students at my job at Intercultural and International Student Services, I found a second family in the amazing CSB rugby club, I had the chance to study abroad in London where I met wonderful people I'll remember for life, and I'm still making memories. None of this would have been possible without the scholarships I received from Saint Ben's, so thank you to everyone that gives back to this community. I'll be graduating this spring 2016, and I can honestly say I've loved every moment, the ups and downs.

Ynis Isimbi '16 | Kigali, Rwanda

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