by Ric Burrous
For a lot of IUPUI international students over the years, IUPUI has offered a home away from home while they pursue their academic dreams. But for sisters Megan and Hannah Ishikawa, IUPUI has offered an opportunity to embrace international life on campus, even though the two consider themselves Hoosiers.
Megan is currently a student in the School of Medicine, while Hannah, a School of Liberal Arts graduate, is now working in France as an English teaching assistant. The two spent most of their undergraduate years as residents of International House, which this year is celebrating its 25th year.
Their interest in international matters is natural: Megan was born in Singapore, while Hannah was born in Indianapolis. Their father is Japanese and their mother is American, and that dual heritage encouraged them to plunge headlong into international life at IUPUI.
And few IUPUI students have been so involved in international matters on campus, according to Jill Jean-Baptiste of the Office of International Affairs.
Both Ishikawa sisters worked as admissions assistants for International Affairs during their IUPUI careers, Megan assisting graduate students and Hannah helping undergraduates.
"It was very rewarding to be part of the team helping students come from all over the world to study at IUPUI," Megan said.
Both sisters have study abroad experience. Megan studied in Freiburg, Germany, during her junior year and again as a medical student in El Salvador. Hannah spent a year in Aix-en-Provence, France, taking classes alongside French students. And each took advantage of travel opportunities while abroad. Megan visited Spain, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic. Hannah, on the other hand, traveled to England, Italy, Vatican City, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Poland and Greece, among others.
Megan was president of IUPUI’s International Club, a group that hosts weekly sessions in which students share a bit of the culture of their homeland, from food to clothing. "It became part of my life for the next four years," she said, adding that it was fun to experience a bit of life from other perspectives.
Hannah’s international campus life started her freshman year, when she joined both the International Club and the Francophone Student Association. "The atmosphere in both of these clubs is so warm and inviting, and these activities became a staple of my life on campus," she said.
In addition to her work for OIA, Hannah also was an International Peer Mentor for two years, helping international students settle into life in their new hometown of Indianapolis.
"Those two have done every possible international-related thing that students can do at IUPUI," said Jean-Baptiste. "They took full advantage of the opportunities our campus has to offer."
Hannah is already at work on her dream career. She is teaching English overseas in two high schools in Blois, France, and when she completes that program in May, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in teaching English as a Second Language and then teach English overseas full-time.
Megan is enrolled in the MD/MPH program in the School of Medicine and the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. Eventually, she hopes to be a primary care provider in the field of global health, on both the local and international levels.
"IUPUI has impacted our lives by providing a supportive environment in which to grow and pursue our individual interests in the United States and abroad," said Megan.