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Fakira Soumaila
Sophomore, Health Science
Niamey, Niger

We knew VCSU has an excellent reputation throughout the region. But even we were surprised when Fakira came to us all the way from Rome.

Her father works for the United Nations as a food and agriculture engineer. Her mother works for Nigerian Embassy in Rome. They were living in Rome where Fakira was attending a French school when she began her search for college. "I picked up a directory of colleges, and there was VCSU. I impressed that it has a long record as one of the U.S.News 'Best Colleges.'"

There were also other reasons she liked VCSU. "VCSU is a small college, and I felt like I could get better attention here. I was also used to small schools – my French school in Rome had only 400 students, so VCSU was a good choice for me. I am very happy with my decision to come to VCSU. I feel like I am part of the university, and not left behind."

This isn't to say that being a foreign student at VCSU didn't require a few adjustments. "When I came, I was still learning English, but I've made a lot of progress."

And she is clearly good at learning languages -- her first language is Germa (an African language) and she can also speak Italian and Spanish. "Now I can add English to the list!"

Fakira's major is Health Science, a relatively new major at VCSU that has been very popular. "This major is what other colleges call pre-med. After graduation, I want to go to medical school to become a pediatrician. I love children, and I love medicine, so this is a good combination."

Because the program is designed for students who plan to go on to professional schools at the graduate level, the curriculum is designed to be rigorous. "These are hard subjects," she said, "but I really like my instructors. Dr. Stickler is amazing. Sometimes we don't know if we are taking Chemistry class or being entertained!"

Campus is a lot of fun for Fakira, too. "I like living in a dorm. Last year, I lived on the freshman floor, and it could get kind of crazy at times. Lots of yelling, running, and laughing. It was never boring! When I came to campus, I didn't know anybody, but I have met lots of people and formed good friendships."

One part of the technology that Fakira appreciates is the free access to the Ruckus Network that VCSU students get. "With Ruckus, you can download as much music as you want and not get into trouble! I listen to everything: African music, European, American."

"I also use the computer for research. Having a computer all the time is a big advantage. I've learned a lot about using Microsoft Office. Now, I can do a lot of stuff in Excel and Powerpoint. I like being able to check out digital cameras and videos."