When: Wednesday, March 23rd,2022 @12pm
Where: Online via zoom
Speakers: Vinh Nguyen (Vietnam), Anne Kiche (Kenya), Mallory Petsche
Across the globe and here in Iowa, education is seen as a ticket to a better future. The knowledge one acquires and the credentials a degree confers have the power to open previously closed doors and lead to opportunities previously not possible. For refugees and immigrants, navigating the complex systems of higher education in the US are overwhelming and promising. In some ways, the realities are akin to most first-generation families. There may be a steep learning curve about school types and the similarities and differences between them, about the FAFSA, applications, and costs for each school, about existing scholarships and other funding sources, and about the resources available to students new to the tertiary landscape. In other ways, there are realities which are unique to first-generation families newer to the US. For example, comparisons are made to higher education systems in home countries, mostly English-only information makes reading about and understanding the many college options and their requirements challenging, and once enrolled, lines might be blurred between home and school life. Attending all first-gen students are aspirations and pressures both intrinsic and those from the hopes and expectations of not just their parents but of the larger communities from which they hail. In this session, the panel will discuss the lived experiences of refugee and immigrant students and their families as they pursue admission to and persist through Iowa’s colleges and universities. They will explain some of the support programs and resources available in the state. And they will share how increasingly diversifying campuses of all types are more vibrant for everyone, particularly in learning spaces, with the inclusion of the voices, ideas, and contributions of students from all cultural and national backgrounds.