Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

Voices of International Graduate Students

A collaboration between the International Institute’s area studies centers with support from the International Center Grant Fund

This project brings together international graduate students from Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Russia to discuss their research, their experience doing area studies at a US institution, and the challenges presented during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Razieh Araghi

Program: Comparative Literature

Region of Study: Middle East

Born in Iran and moved to the United States in 2016, Araghi received her MA in English Literature from Texas State University. Currently, she is interested in working in Middle Eastern contexts e.g., Iran, Turkey, and Egypt, focusing her work on translation studies and modernization, mainly the texts on women’s rights that migrated among these cultures. 

Watch Araghi’s video »

Roxana Maria Aras

Program: Anthropology and History

Region of Study: Middle East

A fourth-year PhD candidate in the Anthropology and History Program, at the University of Michigan, Aras’s work largely focused on the Middle East, with a particular interest in Christian communities and multi-confessional environments.

Watch Aras' video »

Syamsul Bahri

Program: MIRS, Southeast Asian Studies Specialization

Region of Study: Southeast Asia

Bahri’s research interest is primarily about origins, breakdown, and the future of social and political institutions in Southeast Asia. Currently, a student in the Master’s in International and Regional Studie program, he is also affiliated with the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies as a graduate student fellow.

Watch Bahri's video »

Jessie Bakitunda

Program: MIRS, African Studies Specialization

Region of Study: Uganda

A Ugandan native of the Baganda subgroup, Bakitunda is committed to investigating the Ganda cultural history and using her research to advance her community’s historiography and ideologies. After a gap year, she intends to start her doctoral studies in 2022 in a bid to expand her thesis into a more compressive study of mainly Miti’s ideology and his claims to Buganda clans burial lands.

Watch Bakitunda’s video »

Eimeel Castillo

Program: History and Women's and Gender Studies

Region of Study: Latin America

Originally from Nicaragua and currently a PhD candidate in the joint program in History and Women´s and Gender Studies, Castillo’s areas of interest are modern Latin America, US, and Latin America foreign relations and gender history. While in Nicaragua, Eimeel was a junior researcher and instructor at the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua and worked organizing archives and developing digital repositories.

Watch Castillo’s video »

Daniel Iddrisu

Program: MIRS, African Studies Specialization

Region of Study: Ghana

Iddrissu obtained a BA degree from the University for Development Studies, Ghana (2017), where he also worked as a teaching assistant in 2017/2018. His research focuses on gender equality, development, and health.

Watch Iddrisu’s video »

Swarnim Khare

Program: Asian Languages and Cultures

Region of Study: India

Khare is a doctoral student in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures. Her research interests are focused on narratives of trauma, especially with respect to how experiences of torture within Indian prisons are articulated in literary forms. She studies the figure of the political prisoner in India, tracing the transformations that the development of a radical consciousness undergoes upon being subjected to torture. 

Watch Khare’s video »

Jaideep Pandey

Program: Comparative Literature

Region of Study: India and the Middle East

A second-year PhD student in the Department of Comparative Literature, Pandey’s research interests include literary modernities across Urdu, Hindi, Persian, and Arabic, and their intersections with the Islamicate, colonialism, and literary genres. He is also interested in translation, both as a theoretical framework and as practice. 

Watch Pandey’s video »

María Laura Pensa

Program: Romance Languages and Literatures

Region of Study: Chaco Region of South America

Pensa is a social anthropologist from the University of Buenos Aires and a U-M graduate student in the Romance Languages and Literatures department. She conducts archival work on the Chaco region and is currently working on a project that illuminates the geopolitical constitution of this space and the perception and treatment of their native inhabitants since colonial times, and itś consequences for these groups and their political claims in the present day. 

Watch Pensa’s video »

Su-Yeon Seo 

Program: MIRS, Chinese Studies Specialization

Region of Study: China

Seo received her BA and MA in Chinese Languages from Seoul National University in South Korea. Her research interest is in the linguistic interplay between cosmopolitan and vernacular language and between written and spoken registers, and how they relate to identity formation in the Sinitic cultural sphere.

Watch Seo’s video »

Arina Vlasova

Program: MIRS, Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Specialization

Region of Study: Russia and Poland

Vlasova holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Saint Petersburg State University in Russia. Her research interests include health behavior and health education, sociology of the family, and sociology of education with Russia and Eastern Europe as her region of focus. Besides having experience working as an RA in the fields of her interest, Arina has worked as a student services assistant at an international NGO and as a patient coordinator at a fertility clinic.

Watch Vlasova’s video »

Yiming Wang

Program: MA, Chinese Studies

Region of Study: China

Wang earned his BA in history from Fudan University in Shanghai. His research interests include women, gender, and masculinity in late Qing and Republican China.

Watch Wang’s video »