Tinbite Elias Legesse is an Ethiopian student double majoring in International Relations and Public Policy and minoring in French at the University of Redlands in Redlands, California.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
The U.S. is globally recognized for its incredible higher education system. It seemed only wise to at least apply to a few schools and programs across the country.
Why did you choose University of Redlands?
The University of Redlands wasn’t on my radar until an international recruit visited my school and I met with her. At the meeting, I immediately fell in love with her description of the university and the spirit of Redlands that she carried.
What do you like best?
The best aspect of the University of Redlands is that I can own my education. I’ve been able to sculpt my education with the help of not just accomplished professors, but incredible mentors. I'm allowed to choose the challenges that motivate me and receive immediate help with the challenges that rattle me.
What do you miss most?
I miss the personality of Beijing, both in terms of the city itself and the personalities of the people in my community. You never know if you’re going to run into a slam poet veteran who owns his own tech start-up.
What was your biggest surprise?
I was surprised to meet people that weren’t involved in the U.S. political atmosphere. The way the media portrays Americans and their polarized views, I thought everyone would be intensely participating in politics.
... your biggest disappointment?
Twinkies! I grew up watching advertisements of Twinkies but was completely disappointed when I bit into my first piece. It was just dough in the form of a sponge with vanilla filling.
How have you handled finances?
The University of Redlands offers great financial aid packages to the point where about 90 percent of the students are on some kind of financial aid, grant or scholarship. I was fortunate to be a recipient of some of these.
What are your activities?
I’m involved in Mock Trial, Intramural volleyball, BLACC (Brilliant Leaders Advocating Color Consciousness), Roots and Shoots, and other social justice functions.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
Post college and graduate school, I hope to gain skills in development through NGOs so I can work towards giving back to Ethiopia through a political avenue.