U of I student embraces her culture
Jaclin Tahir’s story begins in Khartoum, Sudan, where she was born. When she was 2, Tahir and her family fled Sudan due to war conflicts and government corruption, and moved to Cairo, Egypt, where they remained for three years.
Her parents then decided to move the family to the United States in search of a better life. They settled in Kennewick, Washington, to be close to other family members.
Tahir grew up speaking Arabic and her mother’s native tongue, Nubian. Her first memory of coming to America was starting school.
“My first day of kindergarten I cried all day long because I didn’t know what anyone was saying — I didn’t speak English at all,” Tahir said. “They had to bring my older cousin in to translate and speak for me.”
Now a sophomore at the University of Idaho, Tahir is double majoring in family development and aging in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and psychology in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences. She plans on pursuing a master’s degree after she graduates and hopes to become a family counselor.
Tahir chose to attend U of I because of an influential family and consumer sciences' teacher she had in high school, who was a Vandal herself. As soon as Tahir visited the Moscow campus, she loved the size and feel, and soon realized it was the perfect fit.
Tahir is also involved in numerous extracurricular activities on and off campus that allow her to share her culture with others.
This September, she was second runner up at the Miss Africa Idaho pageant that was held in Twin Falls. The six contestants all represented different countries in Africa.
“In all honesty, I was extremely proud of myself because I went out there to showcase my culture and show off what Sudan has to offer,” Tahir said. “I remember telling myself in our dressing rooms that it doesn't matter what spot I place but what matters is that I gave it my all and had fun meeting new people.”
Tahir is also a member of the Black Student Union at U of I, which hosts the Shades of Black show every February, which showcases different dimensions of the multicultural experience through performing arts.
She also participates in the U of I African Student Association that facilitates Africa Night every year in November, which consists of performances and traditional African food.
“I love sharing my cultures and traditions with everybody,” Tahir said.
Story by Jean Parrella, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences