Diverse Student Population bring International Perspectives to Otterbein Classrooms

Posted Jun 25, 2021

By Emma Urhammer ’23 

Otterbein brings students together from all around the world. At the core of that experience is the ability to communicate with one another, whether students are from any continent or central Ohio. 

Iman Sahaag, a communication studies major with a minor in accounting, grew up in Toronto, Canada, but was born in Nairobi, Kenya. She’s one of dozens of students with an international background studying at Otterbein.  

“I personally have always liked closer-knit schools, so finding an atmosphere where I was able to get to know my professors on a personal level is why I chose Otterbein,” Sahaag said. 

A first-generation college student, Sahaag is making the most of her Otterbein extperience, participating in many activities on campus and getting involved in clubs that pertinent to her major. She is a member of the African American Student Union, International Club, and Pi Kappa Delta Speech and Debate Fraternity. Recently, Sahaag won an award for Excellence in Novice Debate and was named a Pi Kappa Delta All-American. 

She cites professors Susan Millsap and Nichelle McNabb as major influences in her life.  

“Professor Millsap has helped me tremendously in finding my passions and my voice. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be a part of Phi Kappa Delta,” Sahaag said. “Professor McNabb made me realize my love for politics and a desire to further my education by attending law school. If it wasn’t for these professors, I wouldn’t have known what I truly wanted to do in life.” 

Otterbein health communication and public health student Atsoupe Tchakou is working to earn her degree so that she can eventually help communities stay healthy and safe. Tchakou was born in the African country of Togo.  

Tchakou loves the family dynamic in Togo, which doesn’t just mean immediate family. She says in Togo everyone is surrounded by cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents in addition to immediate family. With that dynamic in place, keeping a family healthy means keeping a community healthy. 

“I like what I’m learning here is how the primary goal is to keep the community healthy, not just to take care of sick people,” said Tchakou. 

Otterbein International Admission Coordinator Jenny Seymour thinks Otterbein is a great fit for both international students and students already living in Ohio with an international background.  

“Being a liberal arts institution, Otterbein possesses many characteristics that set it apart from the rest,” Seymour said. “We provide a lot of support for our students no matter where they come from.”