International student, family find Wayne 'amazing'


By Clara Osten,

clara@wayneherald. com


Noting that her son, Tristen, is "exceptionally happy here," Amanda Joubert is glad her son made the decision to come to Wayne State College to further his education.

What makes this statement unusual is that Tristen is from Johannesburg, South Africa and is one of approximately 50 international students on the Wayne State campus from South Africa.

Tristen, who came to Wayne at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year, was able to visit in person with his family - Mother Amanda, father Gary and younger brother Troy for the first time since come to Wayne last fall.

His family is currently on holiday (vacation) and spent time at The Rose Cottage in Wayne. They were able to visit the campus and community before they continue their vacation by traveling to Colorado.

This is their first visit to Nebraska, although Gary has been to Chicago in the past.

Tristen said he learned about Wayne State from IAM 360, a program which provides information on various colleges in the United States.

"I was looking to come to the United States to study and did lots of research on colleges before I decided to come to Wayne State, " he said.

While Wayne is much smaller than Johannesburg,  Tristen said he is familiar with rural life as his family has a farm/ranch approximately three hours from Johannesburg.

"It is a game farm where we have wild animals and are starting to raise cattle," Gary said.

Tristen is working toward a degree in Networking and Cybersecurity, with a minor in Computer Science.

"My goal is to stay in the U.S. and hope to do anything in the IT area," he said.

Another benefit of earning a degree at Wayne State is the fact that the level of certification will be universally recognized. This is not the case with some of the colleges in South Africa which are similar to community college in the U.S.

Since arriving at Wayne State, Tristen has been able to visit a number of places including Omaha and Lincoln in Nebraska and several  places in South Dakota and Iowa.

Troy, who is finishing his last of year of high school in South Africa, plans to come to the United States and hopes to study veterinary science.

When comparing life in South Africa to that in Wayne, Nebraska, the family said that while food is more expensive here, technology is less expensive.

"Everything works here. If you turn on the light switch, you have light, if you turn on the water faucet, you will have water. That is not the case in South Africa. Also, when I went to get a driver's license here, the process only took a few weeks, where it would have taken months in South Africa," Tristen said.

While he has not seen his family in person in eight months, they have been able to speak every day and have had video calls once or twice a week when schedules allow. The seven-hour time difference has sometimes been challenging as Tristen is often involved with school activities when the family is available.'

The family speaks English fluently as it is the predominant language in country, along with 11 other official languages.

Both Amanda and Gary said their time in the U.S. has been "eye-opening and we couldn't be happier that Tristen chose to come here.

"Tristen has flourished here and the people here have been amazing," Amanda said.