Alum hosts online event about ‘growing up global’

Julia Barton ® Staff Writer |

Minnesota State University, Mankato alumnus Sophia Hoiseth shared her experience of global citizenship while talking about how her time at MNSU shaped the way she educates and empowers others.

Last Thursday Hoiseth hosted “Global Hour,” an hour-long event via Zoom which showcased the experiences of different students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members of global education, and shared her story about the gift of “growing up global.”

Hoiseth was born in St. Paul moved to Poland as a young girl from 1999-2007. Fluent in both Polish and English, Hoiseth lived in Peru and Qatar during her teen years before moving back to Minnesota. She’s also traveled to Oman, Kenya and Italy. 

When she came back to Minnesota in 2017 as an 18-year-old, Hoiseth said it was her first time living in her hometown year-round since she was born.

Immersed in a culture very different than the one she grew up in, she said she noticed many difficulties and surprises while living here.

“When I came back here to Minnesota I was so excited to sink my hands into everything like football games and the culture here,” Hoiseth said. “Looking back, I realize that is how I found how to build community and really make it feel like home.”

“During my time at MNSU I joined clubs and Student Government. I wanted to be engaged in with my professors and fellow students, but I also really got involved with what it takes to make a place feel like home and how to make it feel better.” Hoiseth stated. 

Making her mark, she started a club her freshman year at MNSU that had the main goal to educate girls world-wide — a cause she’s passionate about. 

“Without educating girls we are not going to move forward as a country and world and it is something that is holding us back,” Hoiseth continued. 

This event was made to vocalize the ideas of how we can connect with others to advance our education about many topics regarding international students. 

Making international students feel welcome — as well as encouraging curiosity among students and faculty in hopes of bridging the gap between themselves and students from other countries — was a topic of discussion during the event. 

“I just want to make sure everyone knows that MNSU is committed to our global education,” said Anne Dahlman, Interim Dean of Global Education said. “I want it to be known that if anyone has ideas regarding international students, or creating more opportunities for getting our American students to go abroad, there are options for you and to always ask.”

Hsinhuei Sheen Chiou, a professor in the Department of Speech at MNSU, discussed an upcoming project she is working on during the event to help empower Black, Indiginous and People of Color (BIPOC) at MNSU.

“We want to be able to find ways to reach out and empower these students,” she said. “We want to let them know that being here is a wonderful thing, and if students are running into difficulties we are here for them and we encourage them to get involved in activities to further make it feel like home.”

Sharing her thoughts on the future, Hoiseth said, “I picture myself living in Mankato 10 years from now and would love to participate in a non-profit mission. Also I do think white people have a lot of work to do in this country to repair the damage that has been done. I can’t think of a community that I feel like needs love and respect like Mankato does with its history and treatment of Native American people to the acts of violence against my Black friends. So I do feel committed to stay and continue working here.”

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