Getting to Where You’re Going

One Students Journey to DMACC.

At the age of 25, Yulia Sauer’s journey brought her to several countries before becoming an honors paralegal student at Urban. Originally from Russia, Sauer recalls “I had no idea I was going to live in America, go to school in America, or even study law … I had no idea these things were going to happen,” said Sauer.

From a young age, Sauer had a growing interest in being able to speak to people from other countries in their native tongue. “Because my school was so close to China, learning Chinese was actually required in my program,” said Sauer.

This school requirement would lead her to take advantage of an opportunity to study in China for some time. There she participated in athletic programs as well as academic teams. Throughout her time in Russia, Sauer also earned opportunities to attend conferences in Japan and study English in Malta prior to moving to America.

“She won’t tell you this, but Yulia has always had a 4.0, in high school and all through college,” said Tim Sauer; her husband, who happens to be an American she met while studying at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in Dalian, China.

Her high marks throughout her education allowed her to obtain a government scholarship that fully paid for her bachelor’s degree in international relations from Far Eastern Federal Reserve University, located in Vladivostok, Russia.

After graduating she returned to China to pursue her master’s degree, however this journey was rerouted to the United States, in a decision to build a future with Tim (Sauer). 

The lengthy immigration process into the United States sparked her interest in law. “I have a number of friends who have also moved countries, so we talked about it a lot,” said Sauer. Attending DMACC became the first natural step toward her goals of one day applying to law school and becoming an attorney.

There are a lot of differences that Sauer noted between her college experience in Russia, to DMACC. One of the things she was most excited about was the freedom to choose among so many classes and optimize her own schedule.

In Russia, you choose your program and from there your entire four years are completely planned out for you. Because of that, the students you encounter in your first year of classes, continue to follow you throughout your four years, and naturally build relationships with those people. Sauer said, of her time in Russia, “I took all my classes with the same group of people…In America it’s so hard to build those personal connections when you just take one class with someone and you never see them again.”

The separation of students and faculty has only been exacerbated by the current pandemic which has been in effect since March of this year. As traditional classrooms have temporarily become a thing of the past, Sauer and her husband have turned online school into an advantage. They spend most weekends visiting the dozens of state parks around Iowa, to take a well-deserved break and enjoy a different journey.

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