Afrini Hossain chose to attend Winona State University for its academic excellence, close community, and support for international students like her.

Originally from Dhaka, Bangladesh, Hossain’s journey to earning a psychology degree and a minor in human resource management presented its fair share of challenges.

“First off, there was getting accustomed to the language, the culture, the environment — especially the cold weather! In my country the coldest would probably be about 50 degrees,” she said. “In addition, coming from a different educational background, I had to acclimate to new teaching styles, classroom dynamics, and academic expectations.”

From navigating language barriers to adjusting to a new academic system, these experiences taught Hossain that obstacles are opportunities for growth and learning.

“Winona State provided me with a supportive environment where I could develop resilience and perseverance,” she said. “Whether it was taking on rigorous academic coursework, balancing extracurricular activities and responsibilities, or facing personal struggles, I learned to approach challenges with a positive mindset and a determination to overcome them.”

Hossain’s favorite part of her Winona State experience was the leadership roles she had the opportunity to explore, including Equity and Inclusive Excellence Chair for Student Senate, and President of both International Club and Bangladesh Club.

During her time at Winona State, Hossain also served as an International Orientation Leader, helping to welcome and assist other incoming international students.

“Guiding new students through the orientation process, providing support, and fostering a sense of belonging has been incredibly gratifying, knowing that I’ve played a role in helping them feel at home in their new environment,” she said.

After graduation, Hossain plans to pursue a master’s degree and has been accepted by all the graduate programs she has applied to.

“I feel a strong sense of purpose and enthusiasm for what lies ahead,” she said. “I just need to make my final decision to choose the best and conquer the world with my Winona State Warrior spirit.”

I am proud to attend and graduate from Winona State University because of the transformative experiences, invaluable opportunities, and supportive community that have defined my journey here.

Afrini Hossain

Commencement Speaker, Winona State University