09/04/2013 09:27 am ET Updated Nov 04, 2013

Why I Came to Hawai'i

I was born in Finland and raised by a single mother. My childhood dream was to become an actress, but that plan has since changed into the field of politics. Theatre is still part of my life; it is my passion and a way to relief stress. After high school I spent three years traveling and working and gaining life experience and defining my goals. I spent time in Thailand, Australia, Jamaica, working in between in Finland.

What made me come to Hawaii was a need for change and fresh start, and an opportunity to study International Studies in HPU was too good to miss. I had gone through a great loss in my life, and I felt a great need to change my living environment and start something new. Studying in a language that is not my own, in an environment and culture that is new to me and being surrounded by people I had never met was an adventurous but needed change in my life. I have had to learn to adjust to a different kind of competitive environment - in my culture we do not make a lot of noise about ourselves, and even great accomplishments are usually downplayed when we speak about them. I have learned to stand my ground in a different way, however it is not easy to talk about myself or try to prove myself successful. I rather do my thing and let others notice my strengths.

I have not regretted once coming to Hawai'i and HPU. The experience has given me so many tools and I have made a lot of connections that will be useful in the future no matter what I do. The cultural and ethnic diversity of Hawai'i and HPU have given me a whole new perspective, even though I have traveled the world before this. I believe here we grow to be far more tolerant people than somewhere else I have ever been. When I look back, I have grown as a person. The little Finnish girl that came to Hawai'i by herself is now on her way to success step by step, trying to create happiness for herself and the people around her through the things she loves; involvement, compassion, and working with people. Even though I am extremely ambitious, I never thought I could become the Student Body President of a university in the United States. However, this is just start and I know I have great things ahead of me.