Arsene Mugisha: Join the inclusive community at Southern Utah University
“Studying at Southern Utah University has been the best investment of my time, hard work, and money.”
Southern Utah University (SUU) is a public university located in Cedar City, Utah, in the United States. With its stunning campus and inspired experiential learning methods, SUU has been ranked by The Princeton Review as one of the best colleges in the west of the US for the last 10 years (2005 – 2015).
SchoolApply interviewed Arsene Mugisha, a senior at SUU from Rwanda, to gain his perspective on the university. He gives the inside scoop on student life at the university and the immense support he receives from the faculty.
SOUTHERN UTAH UNIVERSITY
Location: Cedar City, Utah (USA)
Student Name: Arsene Mugisha
Favourite class: I have taken many great classes, but one of my favourites was an elective class in Ceramics. This class was not in my major nor was it related to what I would be doing in the future, but I thoroughly enjoyed learning something new, like making pots and other ceramic arts. The class was very relaxing and it enhanced my creativity.
Favourite Event: My favourite event is ‘Paint the Town Red’, one of the biggest events of Welcome Week at SUU. I enjoy this event because literally the whole city is involved. There are singers, dancers, and different activities all around the main street and the event is full of students, faculty, and locals having a fun time.
Five words that best describe Southern Utah University: Academic, Fun, Outdoorsy, Supportive, Advanced.
How did you hear about Southern Utah University and what made you decide to study in the United States?
I wanted to pursue an education in medicine, and the medical field in America is very advanced. I believed that the United States would provide me with more opportunity than Rwanda, and a US education is very well respected around the world. I had read books like “Gifted Hands” by Ben Carson, and other articles that portrayed amazing medical research and discoveries that were done in the US, and I wanted to acquire that same knowledge and education.
When I finished my associate degree at USUE, I looked for universities to transfer to and further my studies. I went on some campus tours and I was amazed by Southern Utah University. It has a great environment for studying - it is a small school with about 8,000 students located in a beautiful town. SUU is also not far from bigger cities, in case I wanted a break from school, or a change in environment. One of the major reasons I chose SUU - besides a great education, of course – was that I was really impressed by their warm welcome during the campus tour and how they genuinely made me feel at home.
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What are you studying at Southern Utah University?
I am majoring in Nutrition and minoring in Chemistry and Biology. In the future, I plan to apply to medical school and keep pursuing my dream of becoming a doctor. My course of study at SUU covers nutrition and how healthy eating habits can lower the risks for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and coronary heart diseases. I believe this field will support my future career interest as a doctor.
What were your first few days like at Southern Utah University?
The first few days on campus were filled with Welcome Week activities - there was never a dull moment! Believe it or not, many of the friends and roommates I have now are people that I met during my first semester at SUU. The campus gave me a sense of peace and joy. All of my teachers took personal interest in my success, and I felt supported in my new journey at SUU.
Did you have any problems adjusting to life in a new city and college?
When I came to the US, all of a sudden I was not in the house I grew up in, and my mom was not making all sorts of food for me! I was in a new city with new roommates, and new living accommodations, but my frame of mind was positive. I adjusted to it all, and it was actually a fun process! I discovered myself and my capabilities, I became independent, and it was exciting to explore a new city and make new friends in college.
All of my teachers took personal interest in my success, and I felt supported in my new journey at SUU.
What was your experience like as an international student, both academically and socially?
Southern Utah University has an excellent International Student Office that helps overseas students adjust to their new lives. Through the International Student Office, I met many other students from all around the world. It was reassuring to know that I was not the only international student on campus who was studying away from home.
The International Student Office organises many trips and activities for the international student population. For instance, they host fun cultural showcases where students from different countries can present their food and culture to the entire school community.
Professors and students at Southern Utah University are really nice and interested in learning more about my culture and country. Class sizes are small, and all my professors have time for me whenever I have a question. SUU has a diverse student body and this enriches my social life because I get to meet interesting people all the time – whether they are local Americans or other international students.
Did you take part in any extracurricular activities at SUU?
Yes, I signed up as an International Student Ambassador on campus and I helped start an African Union club in the Student Government. International Student Ambassadors volunteer at all international events on campus and they help incoming international students by giving them support, and showing them around the city and campus.
When I joined SUU there was not an African club, even though there were many African students at the university. I became involved in creating the African Union and the Office of International Students was very excited and supportive.
I also participated in the annual Red Rock Relay Run where you run relays with your friends and faculty members from SUU campus to Zion National Park.
What would you say to international students who are considering studying at Southern Utah University?
Studying at Southern Utah University has been the best investment of my time, hard work, and money. SUU gives students an excellent education in a beautiful location, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I know that my degree from SUU is valuable and will be respected anywhere in the world. Most of all, SUU has prepared me for graduate school by giving me a comprehensive and competitive academic experience.