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International siblings are a first for Augustana

May  13, 2013

From left, Lawrence Palmer ’15, William Palmer ’13, Lynn Reinacher ’13, Liv Reinacher ’14, Yee Mon Thant ’16 and Lin Myat ’13. This is the first time Augustana  has had three pairs of international siblings. (Augustana Photo Bureau/Marla Alvarado Neuerburg)

More and more international students are choosing Augustana as their college home in the United States. The number of full-time, degree-seeking international students in this fall’s incoming class is twice that of last fall’s class. Having a sibling on campus can be a deciding factor when the rest of your family is seemingly a world away.

Three pairs of siblings from different countries — the United Kingdom, Myanmar and Germany — attended Augustana this past academic year. That’s a first for the college, according to Jane Tiedge, coordinator of international students.

“My main reason for choosing Augustana was my brother William,” said Lawrence Palmer ’15 from Peckleton, Leicestershire, in the United Kingdom. “I didn't know much about America or American colleges, and I trusted my brother to tell me the truth about his experiences here and what he thought I should do. 

“Best thing about having William here is that I get to spend time with him. I live with him this year so it makes living so far away from home that much easier.”

Lin Myat ’13 of Yangon, Myanmar, applied to many U.S. colleges before choosing Augustana because of its scholarship and small class sizes. When his sister Yee Mon Thant ’16 was researching colleges in the United States, he made sure she put Augustana on her list. “But I did not pressure or persuade her to come to Augustana because I wanted her to make her own decision,” he said. “I believe she chose Augustana because of its great scholarship and also because I am here.”

Augustana appealed to Yee Mon because its “small town” location (her hometown has 4 million people) would help her avoid distractions, and she liked the college’s small class sizes and close faculty-student relationships. And yes, having an older brother on campus was a huge plus.

“We have a close and good relationship so I really enjoy him being here,” she said. “It is like home away from home. He would drive me around, show me different places, take me to different restaurants and give good advice.”

Lin says their parents were happy his sister selected Augustana so he could help her navigate the “culture shock” of moving to the United States. It was a win-win situation as he enjoyed sharing his senior year with a family member.

Yee Mon admits next year will be much different without her older brother around. “Surely I will miss him a great deal, but that is how life goes,” she said. “No matter what, we will always be in touch and have each other’s back.”

The Reinacher sisters, originally from Germany, believe having a sibling at the same college made their experiences more memorable. “The best thing about having a sister on campus is having your best friend right around the corner,” said Lynn Reinacher ’13. “Right now, I can't imagine living more than a short walk away, and I will surely miss seeing her every day.”

Liv Reinacher ’14 agreed, adding, “The best thing about having Lynn here with me is that I don't have to miss her!”

Debbie Blaylock