Earning a college degree isn’t easy. Doing it in a city hundreds of miles away from your hometown makes it even more difficult.
Luckily for San Antonio, Texas, native, Mare Olmos, she found a support group in Cedar Falls, Iowa of nine other students from the same area.
“They are one of the best support systems I have, especially when it comes to homesickness,” said Olmos. “One of my roommates was from San Antonio and we really helped each other a lot. Just getting to see them on the weekends and talking about things or sharing care packages.”
Olmos came to the University of Northern Iowa after receiving a scholarship. Despite being accepted to a number of schools closer to home, she decided on UNI because of the financial support and the atmosphere of campus.
“UNI is better for me because I do better with more of a one-on-one experience, and you really get that at UNI,” Olmos said. “We get a whole different perspective, and I've had a lot more opportunities because of UNI.”
Olmos, a social work major, was able to find an even larger support group by getting involved with student organizations, including the Hispanic Latino Student Union (HLSU).
“It reminds me how I should be proud of where I came from and to see how there are many different points of views out there,” said Olmos. “Sometimes what you've gone through can help other students out there who haven’t had as many opportunities to go outside of their own area and see what differences there are.”
You can help students from around the country have exceptional experiences at UNI. Visit uni-foundation.org to learn how.
“I want donors to know how much of a blessing getting scholarships has been to my family,” Olmos said. “I'm not sure where I would've been. I feel like my education here at UNI has been so much more rewarding than the university education in Texas would have been.”