Kaitlyn Doolittle – Staff Writer
The beginning of Senior Bella Nduwayezu’s journey at Gustavus was not always smooth sailing. But with perseverance and determination to find her place on the hill, Nduwayezu was able to make the most of her time in the Gustavus community.
“I challenged myself to get out of my comfort zone. I got involved and took leadership positions in student organizations, which was not easy at the beginning, but I had friends to encourage and support me,” Nduwayezu said.
Originally from Bujumbura, Burundi, in Eastern-central Africa, Nduwayezu felt like a fish out of water in Saint Peter, Minnesota.
“I was very shy my first year. I was scared to get involved and my excuse was that everything was new to me, [a] new country, language, culture, but I also wanted to get to know people and build relationships,” she said.
Though she was unfamiliar with the Minnesotan environment, Nduwayezu did have a family connection that brought her to the Gustavus community.
“My brother Hubert Ngabirano [Class of ‘18] encouraged me to apply to Gustavus when I finished high school, and I am glad I did,” said Nduwayezu.
The support from friends and family gave Nduwayezu to hold various leadership positions on campus, such as serving as a Collegiate Fellow, being acknowledged as a member of the Saint Lucia court, serving as a Parliamentarian in the Diversity Leadership Council, and helping to lead Prepare Ministries.
“It is always a day brightener when I have the opportunity to see Bella, her smile and enthusiasm are contagious. I admire her tenacious positive attitude toward life!” The Assistant Director of Church Relations Jodi Maas said.
Nduwayezu also volunteers for a non-profit organization that works directly with teenagers and their faith.
Outside of Nduwayezu’s extracurriculars, she holds an equal amount of experience in regards to her International Management major.
“This summer I had an internship with Northmarq, a commercial real estate company as an insurance intern. It was a great opportunity to gain professional skills that I look forward to using after graduation,” Nduwayezu said.
Following graduation, Nduwayezu will be joining Northmarq as a full-time Insurance Analyst.
Even though it is Nduwayezu’s last year on campus she is ready to enjoy every moment that Gustavus has to offer.
Nduwayezu is also ready to help first-year students and their college life transition. “Get out of your comfort zone and get involved, especially International students. The transition can be hard but believe me, everything will be okay. I feel like I stressed on things I shouldn’t have in my first year. Whatever you feel like you want to do that will challenge you and help your growth, go for it,” said Nduwayezu.