The University of Iowa

International student spotlight: Celine Kusnadi

May 1st, 2020
Celine Kusnadi

Celine Kusnadi

Coming from both an international and transfer student background, Celine Kusnadi wished for nothing more than to find her home in the Hawkeye state. Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, Kusnadi packed her bags four years ago to pursue higher education. Now she is a senior graduating with a major in international relations under the perplexing circumstances of online education.          

Though her time on campus has changed, Kusnadi finds solace knowing she made the most of her college experience. She’s particularly proud of her involvement in numerous extracurricular activities, predominantly organizations related to international students and studies.

One of her biggest commitments has been to the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB). Kusnadi serves as a board member on the ‘Get to Know Us’ program committee. ‘Get to Know Us’ facilitates a bridging program between domestic and international student organizations.

“Participating in ISAB is exactly what I wanted to achieve during my time at the university. Through this advisory board I feel like I have a voice and can put my desires into action,” said Kusnadi.

Kusnadi’s involvement in ISAB opened doors to other student organizations with similar missions and values. Shortly after joining, Kusnadi was introduced to University of Iowa Student Government (UISG). Kusnadi represents the International Student Constituency, a new position for UISG. She advocates for issues pertaining to international students and serves as a liaison between ISAB and UISG.

“Building awareness for the international student community is important to me because I realize not many international students are involved in student life and often gravitate towards their own cultures, which I invite them to change,” Kusnadi said.

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Learn about Kusnadi's transition to virtual instruction
Learn Kusnadi's thoughts about the importance of 
Hawkeye spirit

Learn more about Kusnadi's thoughts on the coronavirus,
Indonesia, and her family
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Most recently, UISG, with Kusnadi on the frontlines, hosted a coronavirus tabling event with the Chinese Student and Scholars Association to educate and engage in conversations with the community. Another organization Kusnadi participated in held a similar event promoting coronavirus relief. Kusnadi serves as the outreach and engagement chairman for the United Nations Association (UNA), University of Iowa Chapter. UNA advocates for the sustainability goals of the United Nations and recently rebranded their initiatives on Iowa’s campus.

“Right now, the UNA is fundraising for protection gear for staff at the UI Hospitals and Clinics. It is really unfortunate our time got cut short, but I believe in the future of this organization,” said Kusnadi.

Celine Kusnadi in Verona, Italy

Celine Kusnadi in Verona, Italy

One of Kusnadi’s most memorable experiences over the course of her college career came from studying abroad in the winter of 2019. Kusnadi visited Italy through the Tippie College of Business’s Winter International Business Study Abroad. Kusnadi learned how business has an international impact, specifically looking at the impact of Brexit. “The winter program is great for students who don’t necessarily want to spend a whole semester abroad but still want that international experience,” Kusnadi said.

Kusnadi is grateful for the timing of her study abroad because, just weeks after her return, the coronavirus pandemic began to sweep the nation. Today, Kusnadi can be found finishing her degree and preparing for the virtual graduation ceremony from her apartment in Iowa City. “It’s hard to establish personal boundaries but professors and faculty have been helpful through this transition to online school,” Kusnadi said. With only a few weeks left in the academic school year, Kusnadi continues to utilize UI resources to help map out her future. Her feelings about the future remain optimistic as she seeks continual support from UI faculty and staff.

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