Student Spotlight: February 19, Week 6

Photo of Natalia Bojnanska

International Student Profile: Meet Natalia Bojnanska

Natalia Bojnanska is a self-motivated freshman passionate about education and studying integrated language arts. Born and raised in Slovakia, she moved to the United States three years ago and is now the recipient of the YouAreWelcomeHere Scholarship at KSU.

Bojnanska acknowledges teachers are trying to make a difference in the world, and that is exactly what she plans to do one day. “Teaching is not just about the subject area, it’s about nurturing the human beings,” she says.

Growing up in Slovakia, she always had an interest in the English language. Her creative edge developed from her mother at a young age, and she says teaching now gives her the ability to focus on her passions for helping others, writing, and English.

Bojnanska is committed to furthering the YouAreWelcomeHere message by making everyone around her feel comfortable and included day in and day out. In addition to not being afraid to discuss and be a part of different communities, she believes it is key for people to get to know other cultures and see what can be learned.

“And I think it’s really great Kent State has many scholarships for international students,” Bojnanska says.

Bojnanska moved to the United States looking for something more, and she found her place in education. Although she ended up in Ohio by chance, she says it quickly became her home.

“Kent is pretty diverse. It gives you more chances to get exposed to diversity, and that is something you need in education,” Bojnanska says.

Eager to go into teaching and improve education, she is active in the Kent State Education Association (KSEA) where she takes the opportunity to surround herself with a like-minded community of future teachers.

KSEA is a pre-professional organization on campus giving dedicated students like Bojnanska opportunities to attend seminars, discuss different approaches to teaching, and build lasting connections.

“Being involved in an organization on campus is a great way to make connections and take leadership roles,” Bojnanska says.

Coming to the United States on her own made her aware of challenges other students may face, and her experience gives her a unique perspective to empathize with others. She believes this will be a strength of hers as she enters the field of teaching.

“No matter what help you have along the way, you have to give yourself some credit because you’re the one pushing through,” she says.

Familiar with overcoming obstacles and working hard to prove herself, Bojnanska says it’s important for other international students to know, “Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, because you’re going to make them,” she says. “You’re going to be hard on yourself, but remember people don’t care as much as you think you think. Don’t be afraid, and be confident because we are more judging of ourselves than others are.”

Written by Mary Elliott, Office of Global Education Spring 2020 Intern