International Student Stories: Meet Saj!

This week we, at DU international admissions, will share the story of Saj. He is nineteen years, was born in Kenya and is majoring in computer science. Three generations ago, his family moved to Kenya from India and they still follow India’s traditions in their household. Saj can speak five languages: English, Hindi (which he learned from watching Indian movies), Swahili (the national language from Kenia), and Gujurati (which is a dialect from India that he speaks with his family).

His hobbies changed when he moved to America. In Kenya, he played badminton, ping pong and squash. Since those sports are not as common in the US, he started playing soccer. Saj enjoys outdoor activities and visiting the mountains with friends to hike and practice other sports.

Saj grew up in Kisumu, on the shores of Lake Victoria. He described it as a small town where diversity is spread out. He mentioned there are a lot of people from India and organizations from all over the world. The local commerce revolves mainly around fishing and the lake is a big part of their life. The town is a close community, which resulted in him growing up around the same people.

Kenya is a country popular for tourism. Mainly for the beaches and their wildlife. There are multiple national parks around the country and their five main animals are: Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhinoceros. Two fun facts about the country, according to Saj: 1) the novel Out of Africa (a classic best-seller) that wonderfully portraits Kenya); 2) one of Disney’s most memorable scenes in animation, the valley where Lion King Mufasa lost his life, is also in Kenya (Maasai Mara).

An interesting cultural difference for him between America and Kenya is the food! Food is important in Kenya, but there is not a lot of diversity. While here in the US, he has access to cuisine from all around the world. Saj enjoys trying new things and studying in a city as Denver allowed him to experience the diversity in foods and cultures.

A place he recommends people to explore is “the food hall that just opened and is very nice” (Rebecca Chopp Grand Central Market). Also, around DU, there are many restaurants on Evans Street. His favorites are Illegal Pete’s and Anthony’s pizza. Another place in Denver is 16th street. Saj likes to visit and experience its huge malls and different restaurants.

At DU, Saj is a member of the International Student Organization and Asian Student Association. He appreciates his experience in those clubs and considers being part of an affinity group a must as a student.

“It is good to have people here that you meet every week and they become your family who you hang out with often. It is an amazing opportunity to meet new people and learn about their culture. Being part of an affinity group is a good way to know people who share similar experiences as you. They will help you overcome challenges in your personal and academic life.”

While applying, he recommends students contact someone from Admissions or a current student. They will be able to help you navigate the process in a country that is not your native. Also, that international students should attend the international student orientation. “It is the best way to meet new people! I did not know anyone or what I should do. The orientation helped me find my way around campus and the community.”

Thanks, Saj, for sharing your story with us! Please contact us or leave a comment if you would like to talk with one of our Global Ambassadors to know more about their experience at DU!

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