The FM area is known for its vibrant Tri-College and 50,000+ students whose presence shapes the culture of the valley. I took the time to speak to the newly elected Student Government Association (SGA) of Concordia, President Amina Fatkhulloeva and Vice President Eunice Kayitare Gikundiro.
Lady Amina (’22) is an international student from Tajikistan. In 2016, she received one of the most competitive scholarships in the world that enabled her to study in Norway in one of the 18 United World Colleges (UWC). UWC exposed her to the world! She connected and built relationships with peers from more than 100 nations. Most importantly, she learned the value of the diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences.
She is double majoring in Accounting and Finance and minoring in French Language. Amina is volunteering for the IRS VITA program, where she is filing tax returns for members of our community.
One of the things she is really proud of is winning the Projects for Peace Grant from the Davis Foundation, to realize one of her biggest dreams, that will change the life of 600 people. She is working on a project that aims at bringing irrigation water to a village in Tajikistan.
Lady Eunice (’22) is an international student from Huye, Rwanda. She majors in Neuroscience and minors in International Affairs. Concordia captured her interest as she graduated her International Baccalaureate at the United World College Maastricht, Netherlands. The ability to pursue a neuroscience degree in a Christian-affiliated school drew her even more to considering the immersion to a Midwestern society. Her passions for dance, music and volunteering has brought her even closer to the FM area community, where she performed Afro-contemporary dances at TEDx Fargo and 1 Million Cups and volunteered during the summer at Faith for Hope and the Red River Market.
The FM area is fortunate to have such worldly students temporarily make here their home away from home.
If you see them in the community make sure to ask them what they love about Fargo!
Where do you call home?
Eunice: I find my roots, culture and overall identity from Rwanda but really consider myself as a global citizen. I think my experiences living and studying abroad while rarely being at my literal home,
have largely influenced what I consider as home.
Amina: I am from mountainous Tajikistan and I consider Dushanbe city my dominant home. Yet, I love a nomadic
life and living in different places brings me happiness. So, I call home the place where my heart sings and where I grow a sense of belonging in the community.
What are your objectives as Student Government Association (SGA) leaders for the FM area?
As SGA leaders, we aim to build a stronger and supportive community. One of the reasons we ran for the position is because I saw a need for change in our school, especially in making the student body more informed about diversity, equity and inclusion.
Due to the pandemic, we have missed so many opportunities to connect with our community. We are hoping by the end of this year we can return closer to normal and have more socio-cultural events, volunteering opportunities and networking that help us to build bridges between new and existing members of our community.
Why should the FM community care more about the Tri-College students?
The Tri-College is very important in different ways especially in promoting academic progress, diversity in extracurricular activities in an enriched environment, building connections and many more. This not only an individual profit for students but also for the FM community. It implies that we are having well-informed, educated people in this community who are ready to bring a diverse knowledge of how to influence different affairs.
How could the FM area engage professionally and socially more with Tri-college students?
College mostly teaches us theoretical ways of how to think, but hands-on experience is a better teacher, in the long run, to put into practice what you have been learning. In that respect, the FM area can be better engaged by providing spaces, and interning opportunities in various disciplines, that would better prepare us for our future professions.
On the other hand, speaking from the perspective of international students
I would also hope that many more companies would be more open to having internships in our favor.
What are misconceptions of college students by the Fargo-Moorhead community?
The possible misconceptions could possibly be that college students do not have life experience in careers and may not have what it takes yet to excel in certain domains. This is wrong on many levels, because it does not consider the fact that we get a lot of help from our mentors, professors and internships.
Do you plan to stay in the FM area after graduating? What are the criteria for you to pick a city to live in after college?
Eunice: I personally am not very sure yet but most likely not. I am planning on going to graduate school for Neuroscience, and most of my school choices are not in the area.
Amina: I am not certain where life will take me, but I am planning to work for development programs around the world. I want to make an impact and invest my time in creating sustainable communities in rural places around the world.
What is your vision 2030? Where will you be and why?
Eunice: I hope to have had my Ph.D. in Neuroscience and working in some neuroscience-related research center, have a family and be financially stable.
I also believe these are very much influenced by the community I grew up in, where this is the “natural flow of life.”
Amina: I envision myself working for
a development program as a project manager. I want to see the outcomes of the projects I have completed and how they have helped to restore vulnerable communities and improve their standards of living. Hopefully, have a family and
live a healthy life in a peaceful, humane, sustainable world.