Student of the Month: Isabella Muszkat Besborodco
Hometown: São Paulo, Brazil
Each month we choose a student for the OISS Student of the Month that exemplifies and highlights everything it means to not only be a Spartan, but an international Spartan. We choose these students based off of their accomplishments, as well as their participation in the community. For the month of November, OISS chose: Isabella Muszkat Besborodco.
Isabella is a senior studying Marketing in the Eli Broad College of Business. She is also completing a minor in Information Communication Technology and Development, and plans to graduate in May of 2018. Along with her studies, Isabella is a Residential Assistant in Shaw Hall. She finds that being an RA is very rewarding, but also very work intensive. Adding onto Isabella’s already busy schedule is her job at the River Trail Engagement Center, which she enjoys. Last year, Isabella was on the eboard for the Brazilian Student Association, however, this year as she prepares for graduation, she has stepped back and tried to make time for herself and plan out her future. We sat down with Isabella after having just arrived back to East Lansing after attending a Brazilian Student Conference in Washington D.C., Isabella seemed tired (as all students are around this time of the semester) but determined to make the most out of everyday–something that not all students do around this time of the semester.
Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Isabella came to the United States for the first time when she was in the 5th Grade. She spent a semester living in New York with her cousins and, while she found the city to be too busy, she was fascinated and excited by the idea of returning to America someday. So when the opportunity arose to study in the United States, Isabella did not hesitate. East Lansing was exactly what she was looking for: smaller, diverse, and flexible. She wanted a college town, and in choosing East Lansing she has found a way to appreciate the little things.
While Isabella finds the midwest to be welcoming, the people are not as warm and inviting as they are back home. In São Paulo people often treat strangers like family, whereas in the United States people tend to be friendly without considering others to be a friend. An example of this is when a CATA bus driver helped her get back from the Meridian Mall; she watched as person after person failed to acknowledge or say hello to the bus driver, so she chose to strike up a conversation. They chatted about themselves, their families, and their lives the whole ride back to East Lansing, and the bus driver even dropped Isabella off closer to her dorm than the original bus stop. She says this interaction illustrates the importance of treating others with kindness.
While she has enjoyed her experience at Michigan State, Isabella still hopes to return to Brazil one day. Over the summer, she worked as a communications intern at a corporate bank in her hometown and enjoyed seeing a different side of the city. She says that her favorite part of the experience was finding a new routine and meeting people outside of the friends and classmates she’s known all her life. But she’s still planning to spend several years working in the US or abroad in Israel after graduation. Her hope is to return to Brazil later in life and continue to build her career in her home country.
Though most of her senior year has been filled with school and work, Isabella still tries to make time for soccer, one of her favorite activities. She remembers spending school days in Brazil agonizing over when the bell would ring so she could run outside and play the game. Here at MSU she plays on a pick up team with friends and is often the only girl on the field.When the Michigan weather is too cold for the sport, Isabella spends time practicing on the ukulele or expressing her love of art through drawing. She also says that Netflix and naps are always a good idea.
Isabella’s advice to fellow international students is to turn “no” into a challenge to find a solution. She says that during her time here she’s had people say she couldn’t do something but she never gave up. Settling for less means missing opportunities that could lead to something else down the road. She says, “there are sometimes people that make international students feel like less just because we’re different. We have to remember that we have so much to contribute and can’t be afraid of showing our contributions.” Isabella cites a children’s book, The Girl Who Owned the City, as a source of inspiration. The story follows a character that is tasked with having to develop a system to run a city when the adults are no longer around. She says stories of people that have to step out into the world and overcome an important challenge remind her of her experience of leaving home and making her way in America.
Mitchell Timmerman is currently a senior majoring in both Social Relations and Policy, as well as Economics. He will be graduating in May of 2018 with his degree in SRP, and again in December of 2018 with his degree in Economics. Mitchell plans after graduation include working in Economic Development as well as continuing to write for his blog.
Taylor Mackey is currently a senior at Michigan State and the OISS Communications intern. Taylor studies English and Advertising with an emphasis on digital marketing. She also serves as a Student Intern-Ambassador for the Community Relations Coalition, an area nonprofit that works to bridge the gap between the city of East Lansing and MSU.