Sarah Ndirangu is an international student from Nairobi, Kenya, studying strategic communication here at Hardin-Simmons. Although COVID-19 disrupted her plans to arrive last fall, she arrived this January and was thrilled to finally be on campus!
Sarah’s journey to Hardin-Simmons began in 2019 when she met a team from HSU that was engaging in missionary work and student recruitment in her area. Sarah became interested after having dinner with the team and hearing about the exciting opportunity to study in the U.S.
I hadn’t visited before I got here, but once I arrived, I felt a sense of community.
“HSU is slightly smaller than other American schools, which means if you need help, you’re going to get it,” said Sarah. “Global Engagement is always ready to help, and they check up on you to make sure whatever questions you have get answered!”
Sarah’s home country of Kenya is filled with lots of natural beauty and locations that are easy to access and enjoy. Some of Sarah’s favorite spots in Nairobi are the Oloolua Forest, a beautiful nature trail with a waterfall and caves not too far from her house, and the Macushla House, a colonial home turned restaurant with a pool.
“They have some of the best food I have ever had!” stated Sarah. “One spot I wish I had been able to visit more often would have to be Ngong Hills. It’s a range of hills with wind turbines on the crests and when the sun sets you can see all of the city lights. There’s not a sight like it.”
One of Sarah’s favorite traditions is the way her tribe, Kikuyu, celebrates weddings. They look much different than American weddings, with a full day of celebrating and giving gifts. There is even a section of time where the groom’s side must earn their way back in after being locked out by singing and presenting gifts.
Sarah encourages future international students to pursue open-mindedness.
“Keep your mind open to meeting new people and realize that people don’t always do things the way you do them,” stated Sarah. “There’s a lot of adjusting that comes with moving to a different country.”
However, Sarah’s greatest advice for incoming international students pertains to their packing list.
“If you have a sweater and you think, ‘I’m not going to need that’, you need it,” joked Sarah. “Don’t say you’re going to buy new ones. You’re not going to buy new ones.”
If you’re an incoming international student, remember to pack your sweater and feel free to check out our International Student’s page here.