UWL: ‘Ideal place for international students’

Samir “Sam” Sambar, ’71, left, with scholarship recipient Hoang Nguyen and Anne Sambar.

Samir “Sam” Sambar

Political Science and French — 1971
New Berlin, Wisconsin

Sam Sambar came to UWL from Israel on a full scholarship from the Wisconsin legislature for high-achieving international students. Now Sambar is giving other UWL international students a similar boost. He and his wife, Anne, donated $10,000 to the UWL Foundation to start a scholarship for UWL international students. Sam says UWL was the ideal place for international students to come.

Q: What kind of connection do you feel to students you are giving to?
A: To see what these students are aiming for in life has been very reminiscent of my own experience leaving family back home and coming here. The culture and the language were new. It was not easy. Talking to him (scholarship recipient Hoang Nguyen, an international student from Hanoi, Vietnam), I remembered having similar problems. But I was glad to hear that he had people here who made the transition easier like I did. During my first year here, we stayed in the dorms over Christmas. Arrangements were made to visit local families on Christmas Eve and Day with dinner and gifts. … That was very impressive. He (Nguyen) experienced the same — a host family to do that for him. La Crosse is a close community … You don’t feel like a stranger. – Samir

Q: Why would you encourage others to support funding scholarships?
A: I felt like we got more out of it than he did. We gave very little, but he made us feel very proud — that you could in a small way help a stranger who really wanted an education. – Anne.