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Global Gathering: International Students Experience Southwest Washington

Global Gathering: International Students Experience Southwest Washington

The title of International College Student projects an image of exciting travel, learning and discovery. For most international students, coming to America and achieving that title requires a special kind of grit, tenacity, courage, trust, and resilience. Navraj “Raj” Lamichhane, Venant Manirafasha, and Emiri Sato each developed these traits while navigating unique paths to become thriving, vibrant college students right here in Southwest Washington.

In the spring of 2018, Lamichhane stood at the WSU Vancouver commencement podium, accepting the Chancellor’s Award for Student Achievement. Lamichhane, who is originally from Nepal, was the first international student to be awarded this honor. Though his acceptance speech words were brief, the replay of his life experience in his head was anything but.

Around the same time in Rwanda, Africa, a high school senior named Venant Manirafasha sat in the American Embassy waiting for his student visa approval. “All around me were people dressed in suits,” he recalled. “I just had normal clothes. I waited. Then the woman said, ‘You can go to America.’” The joy of receiving the visa, mingled with memories of darker times, collided as he left the building and prepared to leave his home country. Though Lamichhane and Manirafasha had never met when I initially reached out to them for this story, their life experiences were eerily similar.

Read the rest of this article in the full digital issue below.

Carrie Lynn is an avid reader and emerging writer living in Vancouver. Her first memoir, “Finding Fitzgerald,” is now available. When not reading or writing, she can be found coordinating Vancouver’s nonprofit Winter Hospitality Overflow (W.H.O.) or traveling with her family.

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