Anja Rakotoarimanana

Anja Rakotoarimanana
Meet Anja Rakotoarimanana

Nebraska becomes a transformative second home for Rakotoarimanana

May 11, 2020 | by Jessica Ha

Anja Rakotoarimanana may have left her home in Madagascar with the intention to transfer from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln after her first year, but the Husker community and the opportunities she found quickly changed her mind.

After her father heard from a friend about UNL’s academic excellence and great athletic programs, Rakotoarimanana packed her bags in Madagascar to embark on a new adventure in Nebraska. Though she was initially unfamiliar and unsure about Nebraska before arriving in the Cornhusker State, Rakotoarimanana found herself changing her mind after discovering new friends, opportunities and student organizations that would transform Nebraska into a second home for her.

The best thing about being a Husker is being a part of such a welcoming and caring community.

Anja Rakotoarimanana

Anja at one of the RSO campus fairs

During her time in Nebraska, Rakotoarimanana fully took advantage of immersing herself into various communities and opportunities. Her resume includes being a member of the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, Undergraduate Women in Business, and the University’s Lutheran Chapel. Through these involvements, Rakotoarimanana noted she was able to quickly adjust to the new environment, learn more about herself, and find what she is passionate about. She also graduates in May 2020 leaving behind a legacy of achievement, including being named to the Dean’s List for academic success and organizing the Undergraduate Women in Business Conference.

“Besides being a BIG 10 school, UNL provides a great sense of belonging and community to international students who are away from home,” Rakotoarimanana said.

In fact, Rakotoarimanana’s proudest accomplishment relates to the community she found at Nebraska and sharing it with other international students in her first job as an International Assistant Admissions Counselor for the UNL Office of Admissions. In her position, Rakotoarimanana reached out to prospective students to help them learn more about the university, share her personal story, and discover if Nebraska was the right fit for them. She’s grateful for the support the university has shown its international students, especially given the global COVID-19 pandemic. Rakotoarimanana noted that in response to the travel and visa barriers making it challenging for admitted international students to decide if they can even come to the U.S. for college, she and the Admissions team were working tirelessly to reach out to students with personalized messages and answer any questions they might have.

Anja with students on the Nebraska at Oxford program

Rakotoarimanana’s favorite memory, however, comes from her decision to study abroad. During the four weeks she spent at the University of Oxford, Rakotoarimanana continued with her philosophy of living each day to the fullest. To truly experience the culture of England, she and her friends went for high tea, punting, watched Shakespeare plays, and attended a horse race in addition to taking two economics courses from Oxford lecturers.

“Studying abroad with UNL students has opened me to new horizons, and inspired me to be more involved, as well as to become more daring and trying new things,” Rakotoarimanana said. “It’s a great opportunity to make connections, not only with the faculty, but also with the people from UNL itself, and get to know more of who are at your university.

Anja with friends at a Husker sports game

As Rakotoarimanana graduates this spring semester, she realizes just how much her time at UNL and the connections she’s made have impacted her growth. According to her, “Graduating from Nebraska has shaped a great part of the person I am today. It taught me independence, resilience, and dreaming bigger. It has equipped me to face upcoming challenges, and to reach my goals."

Following graduation, Rakotoarimanana is most looking forward to exploring new opportunities to grow as an individual and professional. She plans to pursue her Optional Practical Training (OPT) with employment in the U.S. and hopes to become a business incubator in the future to help elevate people’s ideas into making a difference in their community.

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