Sara Balasu is from the island of Antigua and Barbuda in the Eastern Caribbean. She says she isn't the traditional college student.
"I’m 24 - I’m not the traditional college student. I finished high school back home in 1999, then I went on to a two-year college over there, and then when I graduated, I worked for another two years before coming down to the U.S.,” she says.
“So maybe that is what also helped my transition here in the U.S. That’s what allowed it to be smooth, because I wasn’t 17 or 18 - straight out of high school and I've been in the U.S. since 2004 attending the Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.
"I choose Slippery Rock because it is small," she continues. "I’m from a small island, so I didn’t really want a big city like New York, and the tuition is pretty low compared to other schools and they also offered my major which is International Business. Other schools would only allow you to do it as your masters and they allowed me to do it as my bachelors. So that is how I came to Slippery Rock.”
International Business is Sara's major. Sara also has another subject she is studying, and that is Human Resource Management. “I’m one of those people who grew up never really knowing what I wanted to do. I always wanted to go to a university, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to study and International Business is like a composition of everything you talking about Accounting, Management, Economics so I figured this was a good major to get into because it gives me a little taste of everything and then when I get into the working world I can then decide what I really want to specialize in,” she says.
“As for Human Resource Management that is my minor for my major it is required to have a minor so I started off with Spanish and then I realized it would take me longer to graduate and so I dropped to Human Resource Management because it seems that I have a knack for Management that is what people who have worked with me and on campus here seem to tell me so I decided to give it a try.
From being on the board of the Student Government Association, to currently being President of the Internations Club, Sara says getting involved with campus activities helped with her transition from home to here. “The American culture was not too strange for me. When I first came here which was Fall of 2004, of course, it was hard the first couple of weeks, but after the first couple of weeks I started to get into the groove of things. I started getting involved in after class activities, joined different groups so I could meet different people, offering my assistance where it was needed and I think that kind of helped me a lot,” she says.
“I believe if I kept to myself and just went from class, home, class, home then I would not have adjusted as quickly as I did, but getting involved with activities on campus helped and I also work at least eighteen hours a week on campus,” she says.
“I’ve been working there since 2004 and that made the days, the weeks, the months go fast and now it has been five semesters here, this is my fifth semester and I only went home this summer. I went home for one month. It was the first time I was home and surprisingly half way through my month at home I was really to come back because I kind of miss Slippery Rock.”
This is Sara's junior year at Slippery Rock University. She says she isn't sure what she will do once she finishes, but she does know that eventually she will go back home. “At this point I will be experimenting and as I try my hand at different jobs and see what fits I will stick to it, but I believe I will probably be one of those people that I do a combination of different things. My job is going to consider of like several other jobs. I will not stick to just one thing.”