Across the Street or Across the Globe

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Across the Street or Across the Globe

by Sean Lee

When I arrived on campus to The University of North Dakota for the first time, I had no idea what to expect. While most students hauled carloads full of swag for their new dorm rooms, I had only two small suitcases and a backpack.

To call my first year “eventful” would be an understatement. After enduring one of the Red River Valley’s harshest winters and subsequent flooding, my friends and family called me crazy. My hometown? Mililani, Hawai’i.

Despite the weather, my first year at UND was more than enough to get me to stay. Between the hundreds of student groups on campus, roaming the city of Grand Forks, or simply the North Dakota way of life, I was hooked.

And, I was not alone. Thousands of students from around the world flock to UND for a world-class education. The diversity of life at UND is reflected in the students and faculty from across the country and around the world. They bring their enthusiasm for their chosen pursuits, as well as their unique perspectives from which they approach them.

Kristina Syversen, an elementary education major and actor with the UND Theater Department, has taken a starring role in dozens of plays and productions. “I didn't do too much before I came here, just some Christmas plays every year and a couple years in community theater,” Syversen said.

The transition to the big leagues of acting has been “hard, but fun” according to Syversen, who is among a handful of Norwegian students participating in an exchange program with the American College of Norway.

“The American College of Norway has many connections to UND, which makes it cheaper and easier than any other school in the U.S.,” Syversen said.

“It’s so much fun to see new places and experience different cultures,” Syversen added.

Her opinion is echoed by Nathan Bauer, who came to UND to chase his dream of becoming a pilot. “My uncle was an airline captain. I’ve always wanted to fly since I was a little kid,” Bauer said.

A freshmen from Houston, Texas, Nathan began his studies at UND in the fall of 2010. “College is a different experience altogether,” Bauer said. “It’s exactly what I expected.”

Since his arrival on campus, Bauer has been involved with many different student groups and organizations. “I decided to continue playing trombone and joined the Pride of the North marching band. I love it.”

Living in McVey hall, Bauer has made friends from many states. “You become friends with your floormates very quickly when you live on campus.”

While nearly half of the student population is from outside North Dakota, the roughly 7,000 students with home roots in the state add to the culture and diversity of the University.

Anyone spending even a little time on campus has probably seen the work of graphic designer Tom Hadlich, a Grand Forks native.

Hadlich, a Junior studying in graphic design technology has been featured in hundreds of promotional items and displays. “When I see people wearing t-shirts that I’ve designed, it’s the coolest thing ever,” Hadlich said. “It reaffirms why I’m in my major.”

“Being a 'towner' is a lot different then being somebody from a far distance away,” Hadlich said. “Still, campus life is dramatically different than home life.”

Tom can be found on any one of the four disc golf courses in the Greater Grand Forks area. As the co-founder of the Student Frolf Unity, an on-campus student organization that promotes the sport, he jokes, “One day I hope that UND will have a frolf course.”

As a Resident Assistant, Hadlich can attest to the added value this diversity has given him. “It’s awesome to create bonds with an entire group of people. Some of my residents become friends for life.”

From across the street or across the globe, students flock to UND for an education unmatched by any other institution in the world. Although North Dakota was far from my thoughts during my high school years, I wouldn’t give up my experiences at UND for anything in the world.

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