Born: Berlin, Germany
Lived in: Germany, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya, Swaziland and the USA.
Major: International Affairs
Although Iman Sebunya, a graduate of Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa (UWCSA), was born in Berlin, Germany, she is the product of many other cultures. She arrived in Burkina Faso at the age of three weeks. Ghana is where she went to kindergarten and first grade. Second and third grade saw her in Maputo, Mozambique. Then came seven lovely years in Nairobi, Kenya, followed by a move back to Mozambique where she decided to attend UWCSA in neighboring Swaziland. Her high school years were spent shuttling between the UWCSA boarding house in Mbabane and her family home in Maputo, Mozambique. She feels it was a great privilege to have attended a UWC as throughout her time there felt she was valued for her background and past experiences while continuously being stretched academically and socially. She is so happy and proud to be part of the wonderful global community of UWC graduates.
Iman chose to attend Lewis & Clark for its international emphasis, and for the relatively small, caring, diverse and academically progressive atmosphere. She especially likes its international outlook and inter-disciplinary approach to teaching. This she feels is particularly true in the departments of Psychology and Ethnic Studies in which she has constructed her areas of concentration. She hopes that this combination of fields will be a plus for a professional life in Africa geared towards resolving the challenges facing the continent. These challenges are complicated and may require creative approaches drawing on many disciplines. Of course Lewis & Clark’s being located so near to such an eclectic, vibrant and quirky city like Portland was also a major consideration.
Iman’s family has since relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and that city has become yet another home for Iman. Although Iman does not feel she has a country that could truly be called home, she has become very good at creating new and multiple homes through friendships, interests and involvement.
Lewis & Clark College has really lived up to Iman’s expectations and she is grateful for all the support and understanding she receives from the Lewis & Clark student body as well as the International Students and Scholars Office. In particular she has really enjoyed exploring the advantages of a liberal arts education and is grateful to have been exposed to subjects such as psychology and ethnic studies which she has discovered are where her interests really lie. She recently declared her major in psychology and her minor in ethnic studies and will be joining Lewis & Clark’s overseas program to London (a psychology program) in the spring of 2011. Another major area of interest is education. Iman took an education class at Lewis & Clark and subsequently volunteered at a Portland public middle school with a prominent immigrant population. Here, Iman found her love for teaching, and in particular, the education of immigrant and refugee children. As a result, she has become increasingly active in Atlanta’s refugee community.
During the past two summers Iman was part of an Americorps Vista internship program at Refugee Family Services, a refugee nonprofit serving greater Atlanta area refugee children. The program runs a summer school focusing on both preparing refugee children for immersion in public schools as well acclimatizing them as rapidly as possible to life in the US. For example, this past summer, she taught recently arrived children from Bhutan and Myanmar. She credits taking Education 201 at Lewis and Clark with crystallizing her interest in the education and resettlement of refugee communities.
Iman has also been an active board member for the ISLC (International Student of Lewis & Clark) and organized Lewis & Clark’s first ever Africa Week, which was a great success! In her junior and senior years Iman hopes to continue strengthening and contributing towards the special microcosm that is Lewis & Clark. Ultimately she looks forward to giving back to the countries that have made her who she is today.