Empowering International Students

Alumna Kam Niri creates podcast, “Diary of an International Student”

 Kam Niri’s podcast aired on International Students Day, Nov. 17.

Kam Niri’s podcast aired on International Students Day, Nov. 17.

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Being an international student isn’t an easy task. Being away from family, learning a new language and adapting to a different lifestyle are all challenges these students face. Kam Niri, St. John’s alum and grad student knows these challenges firsthand as an international student from Italy. These are the topics Niri hopes to tackle in her newest podcast, “Diary of an International Student” (D.I.S.). Niri launched D.I.S. on Sunday, Nov. 17, the same day as International Students Day. 

Niri’s show will include guest appearances from other international students, as well as her own anecdotes and experiences.

Kam Niri’s podcast aired on International Students Day, Nov. 17.

“I have never regret[ed] ever in my life coming here as an international student, it’s actually the best experience I could ask for and a big part of my life,” she said. 

Niri was born near Perugia, Italy and lived in Rome before moving to New York. “I think studying abroad or coming here as an international student is something students should try because it’s something that expands your mind, your views, your culture,” Niri said. 

“You’re coming to study in a place you’re not familiar with and it helps you to get out of your comfort zone which is very important.” 

Most students from the U.S. don’t have to learn an entirely new language, culture or even a new system of currency that is foreign from their own just to go to school -, that’s where the term “homesickness” comes into play. 

“Is it hard? Yes. Is it a choice? Yes, however, just because it is a choice, it doesn’t mean that these problems should be a taboo,” Niri said regarding the conflicting feelings that international students often feel. 

“When I was in high school I found that I wanted to study outside of Rome, if not outside of Italy, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And it came towards the end of high school that I thought I didn’t want to go to college. I just didn’t know what I wanted to do in life,” Niri said.

Niri’s father found an abroad program which had several options around the globe,and she ended up choosing New York. She loves the college environment in New York, which is something she would not get at home in Italy. She is now working for her second master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at St. John’s. She finished her undergraduate degree in 2016 as a Public Relations major and she completed her first master of science degree in 2018 in International Communications. 

This isn’t Niri’s first venture into podcasting – she hosted her first podcast, MISS-Communications of a Broken Cupid, while pursuing her masters. In this podcast, Niri and another SJU student applied communications theories that they were learning in their masters program to dating and romance. 

D.I.S. also has a co-host, AJ X Soul, who is a St. John’s alumnus, but not an international student. “We established this team so he can ask me questions as a non-international student and keep a spontaneous conversation. Every episode, I am not aware of the topic we will be talking about. AJ chooses the topic, and he’s the only one in the entire crew that knows what it’s going to be. I want to have a genuine talk because it’s a diary, and it’s not [just] my diary, it’s every international student’s diary.” 

“The hashtag of our podcast is ‘Alone I am not.’ I want to make sure that international students feel empowered and never doubt their experience.” 

D.I.S.’s goal is to create and reinforce a community for all international students.  Niri’s main vision is to be able to create a sense of a ‘home away from home’ for international students so they can feel safe and never alone. 

If you are an international student who would like to share your story, you can email the crew at: [email protected]

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