Junior in Economics and International Studies
Hometown: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Studied Abroad at Richmond University in London
8,000 miles from campus
From her home in Sri Lanka, Sanjana received her acceptance letter to Iowa State University with an open mind, but prepared to transfer after her first semester if need be.
“On my first day of orientation, I instantly knew – there was no turning back for me,” said Sanjana. “I fell in love with the campus and the people. I felt like I was home.”Now just two years later she’s flown across the globe to find her way back to campus, but this time she’s returning from Richmond University in London, one step closer to achieving her dream of working as a human and children’s right advocate for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), something she has had her sights set on for awhile.
At home, abroad
Being an international student in Iowa helped Sanjana prepare to travel abroad with ease.
“The day I arrived in London, everything felt familiar,” said Sanjana. “I felt like I was back home in Colombo. I could relate more to London, since Sri Lanka used to be a British colony; hence the city’s structure was similar to home.”’Sanjana spent a few late nights writing papers, but mostly just spent her time exploring the city, connecting with fellow Sri Lankans, making new friends from all around the world and embracing the new and diverse culture, which she knew would better position her to land a job at a large international organization like UNICEF, which require years of experience.
Back to the Midwest
After an entire semester away in a big city, Sanjana was surprised at how much she missed the sound of the campanile and Midwest generosity and kindness that she has come to know and love.
“I never expected anything to happen the way it is for me right now,” said Sanjana. “Iowa State has opened various opportunities for me and I hope that every student gets a chance to really get involved on campus and benefit from it, just as much as I did and continue to do.”Between keeping up with her friends across the world, participating in undergraduate research with her professor and mentor, Peter Orazem, and searching for a field internship with UNICEF headquarters, Sanjana has used her time at Iowa State to bring her goal a bit closer, while making the world seem just a little bit smaller.