Our International Spotlight features focus not only on those who came here from abroad, but also on American students who devoted a significant part of their time to intercultural activities while enrolled here at the University of Iowa, as well as faculty and staff who support internationalization at Iowa.
This week's spotlight falls on a graduate student new to the University of Iowa, but not new to the state: Anastasios “Tasos” Papachristoudis.
Tasos is from Thessaloniki, Greece, and spent the last few years studying in Iowa as a undergraduate before coming to the University of Iowa for graduate studies.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree he took some time to gain practical employment experience at Grinnell Regional Medical Center. This gave him considerable exposure to the healthcare field, and he soon discovered this was what he wanted to do. His supervisor saw his interest and suggested he apply for a Master’s of Health Administration degree so he could eventually move into hospital administration.
“After looking at different schools in the U.S. and speaking to their faculty and students, I was impressed by the quality, the environment and the superb characteristics of the MHA program at the University of Iowa, and I decided to apply here. It was the best decision I have taken.”
He was drawn to the U.S. because he wanted a liberal arts education, and Grinnell College here in Iowa became his institution of choice for undergraduate work. At Grinnell he served as president of the International Students Organization, was a teaching and lab assistant for biology and chemistry courses, and conducted research in physical chemistry under the guidance of his advisors.
Although Tasos gained a lot of experience adjusting to American culture at Grinnell College, there were still some challenges after coming to a large university to pursue graduate studies.
“As a new international student at the UI, International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) was my go-to resource for my problems. ISSS provided me with a smooth transition into my life as a student in Iowa City. Thanks to them, I was able to meet more students like me and meet with the international Greek students and scholars on campus. Similarly, the staff and faculty of the MHA program, as well as my MHA classmates, have helped with my transition into my new student life and made my experience in UI joyful and unforgettable,” he said.
After graduation he hopes to gain some experience serving as an administrator in a rural hospital where he can also be an active part of the community promoting healthcare issues.
“The advice I have for other students, especially for my international peers, is that the road to fulfill your dreams is not an easy one. It is full of challenges, difficulties and some times failures. However, do not give up, have faith in your capabilities, be optimistic and eventually you will be rewarded. Always utilize the resources available to you, and never be afraid to ask questions and speak your mind.”