The Office for International Students and Scholars is excited to begin our “Student of the Month” series for the 2014-2015 school year. Each month an international student will be featured and highlighted on our blog, and in a display case outside the main office in the International Center. Stay tuned for great stories, fun facts, and insight from MSU’s very own international students!

Hima Rawal is more than 7,360 miles from her home in Dadeldhura, Nepal.

Far from her mother’s homemade dal bhat (a rice and lentil soup), far from her 13 year-old daughter Bandana, four year-old son Bardan, and her mother who watches over them while she studies in America.

Far from her uncle’s garden, a “dreamland” of flowers, apples, peaches, and plums that is flush all 12 months of the year. Far from her childhood home, now destroyed, that pops into her dreams every now and then.

But much closer to her dream of becoming a PhD candidate at one of the top public universities in the world.

Hima is one of the Office for International Students and Scholars’ sponsored students through the Fulbright program, and is in her second year at Michigan State. She is studying TESOL; Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Hima’s professor and role model in Nepal graduated from Michigan State in 2006 and returned to Nepal to teach. Hima learned about Michigan State through her professor and said that MSU has been her “dream university” ever since.

Hima says when she got to MSU, the thing she remembers most was the friendly staff, and recalls OISS advisor Nicole Namy being the greatest help during a time when she was stressed and overwhelmed.

“When I arrived, we had a list of things to do. Apply for a social security number, health insurance, bank accounts…I was running here and there, worried that I would not finish my paperwork in time. OISS makes everything so easy. They make you not worry about anything. Once you are at OISS, you feel that you are at home.”

When Hima isn’t busy studying, you can find her at Sindhu, an Indian restaurant in East Lansing where Hima can speak Nepali and Hindi with the waiters and cooks from Nepal. She finds comfort in talking to other international students and immigrants because they are experiencing similar feelings like homesickness and sometimes difficulty adjusting to life in the United States.

Hima looks forward to eventually bringing her children to the United States while she continues her studying.

For now, she will pass the days studying in the MSU library, cooking Nepali meals for other international students, clearing her head on the banks of the Red Cedar and occasionally dreaming of her uncle’s garden on the far Western side of Nepal, 7,360 miles away.

Hima Rawal

Major: TESOL, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Hometown: Dadeldhura, Nepal
Favorite food from home: dal bhat (rice and lentil soup)
Plans after graduation: Apply for PhD, bring children to the US
Favorite place in East Lansing: MSU Library, banks of the Red Cedar, Sindhu (Indian Restaurant)
When she’s not studying: Going out with classmates, having company for Nepali lunch or dinner in her home
Favorite place in Nepal: Her uncle’s garden, full of flowers and fruits year-round
Advice for other international students: If you need anything, let OISS be the resource to help you!


Hima was interviewed by John Nowak, a senior at Michigan State and the OISS Sponsored Student Program intern. He has worked at OISS since last spring and enjoys meeting and interacting with sponsored students from all over the world. John is in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, and also is studying Spanish at MSU.