Fascha Aryasa, from Bali, Indonesia, is a first-year computer science student. In just a few short months on campus, Aryasa has become deeply involved in campus life and with student organizations. Learn more about Aryasa’s contributions on campus and in the community through the Q&A piece below.
What prompted you to pursue your undergraduate studies at the UI?
First, I got my desired major at the UI, which is the most important thing. And second, Iowa City is not too big or busy other than the university, which makes Iowa City a place of study/education. I chose Iowa City because I grew up in a big and busy city and, somehow, I felt that I needed a place like Iowa City in my life.
How do you get involved on campus and in the community?
I am a person who loves to be involved in my community and likes to help others the best I can. Even before I came to Iowa, I asked the Office of Admissions to send me a link of the student organizations on campus. I mostly got involved in international student-related organizations. I chose this because I am an international student and I know the struggles for international students while dealing with a new environment, culture adjustments, and homesickness. I want to help other international students so they can focus on their studies here in the U.S. and not think about the social problems they have. We are here, I am here, to help them whenever they need help. Below is a list of organizations/activities I am involved in.
Programming Assistant | International Student Support and Engagement (ISSE)
ISSE mostly works on creating events for international students to engage more with other international students or resources on campus. But we always welcome domestic students to join our events as well. I chose to join ISSE because I see many opportunities for me to help more international students to blend into a new environment and I want them to feel at home here.
Volunteer Director | UNICEF Iowa
UNICEF mostly provides volunteer opportunities to help children with their education. I really like to volunteer, especially related to children because they teach me how to just enjoy my life and go with the flow. They remind me of how happy I was when I was a child, and they teach me how to always be grateful in this world for everything I have faced.
Vice President | PERMIAS Iowa
PERMIAS is the Indonesian Student Association in the United States. I can meet other Indonesian people in Iowa, and this makes me feel more at home.
Student Ambassador | International Student Ambassador (ISA)
ISA works on welcoming future international students and answering their questions about the university or anything they want to ask. Its purpose is to let them know that we are excited for them to be here. I really like to comfort people in a situation that I know they may not be really comfortable in. Those students will be far away from their families and on their own soon, which was what I was going through before.
Undergraduate Board | International Student Advisory Board (ISAB)
ISAB advocates for problems that international students have on campus, such as health insurance, housing permits, guidance before coming to Iowa, etc. I really like being a part of this organization because it makes me feel useful on campus when I can help solve other people's problems as best as I can. Also, I have learned many things from this organization, like how to have a more formal discussion with high-level officials at the university on important problems.
Undergraduate Board | University Counseling Service Student Advisory Board (UCS SAB)
UCS SAB advocates for mental health problems that we have around the campus. As a member of the student advisory board, I hope people that are scared to talk to mental health professionals can talk to me first so they can feel that the burden on their shoulders is lifted and they are not alone going through the situation they are facing.
Student Advisory Board | University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums Student Advisory Board (UIPM SAB)
UIPM SAB assists the Pentacrest Museums with their events for people who are interested in visiting our marvelous museums and learning something from them. I enjoyed joining this organization because I have always liked museums from which I can learn more about this world.
How has your overall UI experience impacted your future studies and career planning?
I didn't really choose organizations that are related to computer science because I want to learn more about other things. There are so many interesting things in this life, and I want to learn all of them. However, I only have very limited time every day, so I need to choose something that I’m really interested in, right?
From my studies in computer science, I hope that I can be a computer scientist or programmer that makes websites, applications, or even time machines in the future. But from those organizations, I learned how to make the most productive things using my limited time, how to have good relationships with other people, and how to make people comfortable talking to me or just being around me even if we don’t really know each other. Those organizations give me the opportunity to learn more about not only other people but also about myself. I’ve learned how to be more respectful of my time, about how to deal with myself first before I can deal with other people, and also how to have respectful interactions or communications with other people.
What advice would you give to other international students on campus and prospective international students considering the UI?
Don't worry about anything here, we are here to help, and everyone will always be happy to help you. Please let us know if you need help because we can't know the problems you are facing if you just stay quiet and do not ask for help. Just follow your heart and trust yourself that you can do it. Don't push something away just because you don't like it at first.
Do you have anything else you would like to highlight?
I also love to do yoga and Balinese dance. I have been doing yoga since I was very little and took my yoga teacher training certification when I was 10 years old. And for Balinese dance, I have been doing it since I was 5 years old and still learn more and more from it. I love learning, not only from school/university but also from outside, where the real learning is when we have to face "the real world."
International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement. IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.