Xiao Yun Sim

Xiao Yun Sim
Meet Xiao Yun Sim

On-campus positions inspire Sim to serve the students

May 1, 2019 | by Courtney Van Hoosen

When Xiao Yun Sim came to Nebraska from Penang, Malaysia, she imagined her career would be in music therapy. However, after working with New Student Enrollment, Sim is eager to continue her education and ultimately serve students in higher education.

During her undergraduate career, Sim became involved in a variety of on-campus and volunteer positions, including serving as a high school mentor with the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy (NCPA) and a Fine and Performing Arts college ambassador on Red Letter Days. While each opportunity grew her interest in student affairs, it wasn’t until she became an NSE Orientation and International Welcome Team Leader in the summer of 2017 that she really realized her passion.

“It’s just a journey that I’ve accumulated that I know that this is my calling. I know with what I want to study, I would eventually be part of the student affairs community, making a difference little by little each day,” Sim said.

Xiao Yun in OrientationWorking as an Orientation and International Welcome Team Leader is Sim’s proudest undergraduate accomplishment because of its competitive selection process and the wealth of memories she now has. She remembers when she first arrived in the Lincoln airport from Malaysia, worried about what to do next, she was greeted by Welcome Team members who helped her immediately feel comfortable in Nebraska. Her journey came full circle as an Orientation Leader, showing new domestic and international students what “Nebraska nice” means, and grew both professional and personally.

“I would say that the best memory that I have over here is the people that I have met,” Sim said. “Through the International Welcome Team, I got to meet people from a lot of different countries. And, I would say that they are part of my family now in Nebraska.”

Sim, who completed her undergraduate degrees in vocal performance and psychology in December 2018, has been working with NSE as a Resolution Specialist since graduation. Her day-to-day responsibilities in the role involve resolving a wide range of issues for students and parents before their orientation, from MyRed questions to course placement and more. After two years at NSE, Sim says it’s bittersweet to “graduate” from the office as she begins her master’s program at UNL in Educational Administration in fall 2019, but she’s excited for the new opportunities ahead.

I’m transitioning to something else that I’ve never imagined that I will be part of. I’m most excited to start my program because I get to learn more in-depth about the things that I can do and knowledge that I can use to better serve the students.

Xiao Yun Sim

As she begins her graduate program, Sim will serve as a graduate assistant for the Nebraska Unions where part of her duties involve supervising and training Welcome Desk Ambassadors. The role will be a new one for Sim, as the majority of her experience in student affairs has been working with students transitioning into college. However, she is excited to work with current students and gain a new perspective, as well as continue her education at the University of Nebraska.

“The community here in UNL makes me feel like saying ‘Yay!’ I’m going to be here for another two more years.  The relationships that I have with the people here, familiarity with the campus and how it operates makes me excited to stay,” Sim said.

The community she has built makes her feel at home in Nebraska and grateful for a support system she can rely on. As an international student, Sim greatly appreciated the help of her professors and teaching assistants who held open office hours, gave feedback on her papers and answered her questions. University staff and senior leadership were also open to serving as a mentor for Sim, who turned to them in the face of a difficult decision.

“I am really grateful that my college experience was fun, challenging, and rewarding at the same time. And I know that I would never have experienced the same thing if it wasn’t for the faculty and staff here at UNL, and the dedication that they put to create a welcoming and warm place here for all the international students to transition into life in Lincoln,” Sim added.

Xiao Yun formal dance

The open friendliness of the campus and community is what makes campus special, Sim said. She believes students feel they can call Nebraska their home because they have found a community they belong in and are able to embrace themselves, no matter if they’re from Nebraska, the U.S. or another country. From the library nooks where she’s studied for finals to the new restaurants she’s still exploring, every place holds a special memory for Sim. Ultimately, she wants to inspire students, especially international students, to be adventurous and passionate about their future. She has become a new person with the encouragement of Nebraska friends, faculty and staff to challenge herself outside of her comfort zone, an impact she hopes to leave on the students she serves.

As for if she’s ever regretted coming to Nebraska, Sim says never. “As they always say, once a Husker, always a Husker!”

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