Posted:May 4, 2021
Wivine Gicaniro knows what it's like to start over in a new place, far from home, friends and family, and navigate a new life in a second language.
Originally from Rwanda, Wivine had completed her first two years of college and was majoring in Finance. She planned to continue her education in the United States, and moved to Georgia.
Unfortunately, tuition was too costly, and the strict residency requirements meant she would have to wait two years until she could get the less expensive in-state tuition to complete her education.
An Affordable Choice
Luckily, she had a friend who was attending college in Minnesota. After researching schools in the state, Wivine decided that Century College was not only affordable, but offered the best value. "I needed a smaller college where I could engage with the professors, and that's exactly what I found," Wivine remembers. "The class sizes are small, and the professors are amazing--they make students fall in love with learning."
"In addition, you can finish your two-year degree without accumulating any student loan debt!" she adds.
Finding a Sense of Community
Wivine also found a warm and welcoming environment at the College. "I needed a community—I don’t have family here, and I found a family at Century College. The SSS TRIO staff became family. They helped me with my English. I struggled my first semester, and they helped with everything," Wivine remembers.
Wivine also worked hard, and not just in her academic life. Each weekend, from Friday through Sunday, she worked full time at Boston Scientific, building pacemakers, in a job that she loved. She attended Century full time from Monday through Thursday. Currently, she's working at Abbott on the Quality team.
"It was really hard to balance work and school. The first two semesters, I literally worked all the time and that's all. It wasn't easy, but I did it. Once I set up my mind to do something, I push myself," Wivine says. "And Century College helped me so much. All my professors are so kind. They are willing to help anytime you call or email them."
Wivine's hard work has paid off. She is graduating this Spring, and she earned her Accounting degree with high distinction and a GPA of 3.50.
Wivine is currently taking classes at Metro State University, starting her 4-year degree in Accounting. She dreams of becoming an auditor one day, and would love to work with a non-profit organization, helping refugees or working on health care issues. "I love helping people," Wivine says, "When you get here (in the United States) you can feel lost, and you need help. I know what that feels like, and I would like to work for a company that helps our new arrivals."
She offers this advice for new Century College students: "If you take your time, do your work ahead of time, and don’t procrastinate, you’ll do well. Remember why you are in college, and know that you can do it. Century College is a place where you learn and find your family. At the College, people are willing to help you achieve your goals and invest in you. One of the best decisions I ever made was to attend Century College."
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