Oceans and large land masses really can’t keep UW-L’s international alumni apart.
Twelve former international students who are now living throughout the world reunited in India in November to celebrate the wedding of their college friend, UW-L alumnus Tanmaya Singh, of India, and his bride, Priyali Choudhary.
“It was just magical. No one could believe it that we could all make it to the wedding from all over the world. And it was just a pure joy to hang out like the old times,” says Ha Nguyen who traveled from Hanoi, Vietnam. “We each have grown up and moved on with our lives, but when we were together, it was just like when we were at La Crosse.”
Over the course of the seven-day traditional Indian wedding, the group stayed with the groom’s family in Varanasi, India, on the Ganges River, and traveled together back and forth to Patna, India, where the bride’s family lived. They didn’t see the bride until day five of the wedding and the official wedding lasted until 4 a.m. Then all joined in a final party with about 2,000 people.
The group of friends traveled to India because of the strong bond formed after all of the events, classes and organizations they participated in together at UW-L.
Lisbeth Reynertson, who was a foreign student adviser at UW-L for 20 years and hosted many international students with her husband, Richard, considers these international students “part of our family.” Nguyen agrees.
“We are basically a family, and the fact that Lisbeth and Dick have been our second parents in the U.S. has kept the family bond even stronger,” says Nguyen.
Since they’ve graduated, they have each made a great effort to keep in touch through notes and visits over the years.
“If you really want to call someone a friend, both sides completely have to be dedicated to each other,” says UW-L Alum Onur Erdem, of Turkey. He adds that means sharing the good times and the bad.
At the wedding they discussed the next wedding this summer when they can be together again, says Lisbeth.
“The whole trip and the wedding was fantastic, but the most amazing thing was being part of the close family and meeting all my ‘old students,’” says Lisbeth. “This group of UW-L alumni will be friends forever.”
UW-L alumni groups are connecting around the world in countries such as Korea, Taiwan Vietnam, Japan, France and Germany. The UW-L Office of International Education is working with the UW-L Alumni Association and UW-L Foundation to formalize these groups into alumni chapters. If interested in connecting with other international alums contact the UW-L Office of International Education 608.785.8016 or the UW-L Alumni Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608.785.8489.