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Chipo Runesu

Actuarial Science & Finance Joint Major
Harare, Zimbabwe

Coming to the United States from another country was a significant adjustment. Beyond acclimating to the weather (snow!), I discovered that customs and values are different here. For example, a saying in my country goes, “There’s no rush in Africa.” Being on time back home means showing up at least five minutes late. This is definitely not the case here—everybody is always running to get somewhere.

Throughout these changes, I’ve had an amazing support system during my first year at Drake that has made my transition as an international student much easier. Everybody on and off campus is so willing to help and introduce me to the community. I have a mentor—a senior international student—who showed me the ropes; when I moved here to start classes, it was the first time I had set foot on campus. I am also privileged to have a host family who invites me to their home and shows me around Des Moines.

Getting involved on campus has helped as well. I’m part of Gamma Iota Sigma, the academic fraternity for actuarial science majors. Being part of this group has helped me through my tougher classes and introduced me to many of my peers. I’m also part of the International Students Association, and I’m the vice president-elect for the African Student Association next school year.

Being far from home can be tough, but it’s helped me to grow. I now know exactly who I am and what I stand for, and I can’t wait to see what the next few years at Drake have in store for me!