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Student Spotlight: Hazara Leon (MA '24)


A grad student who "lived her best life abroad" pursues a career in international education.

The stamps in Hazara Leon’s (MA ’24) passport – Turkey, South Korea, Indonesia, and New Zealand, to name a few – are special for her family. “One of the things we always discussed was for me to take my education seriously and to take all the opportunities that I would be offered,” Hazara says.  “And one of the biggest opportunities was traveling, doing all that they were not able to do.”

Hazara first set her sights on the world as an undergraduate at the University of Kansas studying linguistics. Fluent in English and Spanish, she chose to study French and Korean too. As a senior, she traveled to South Korea for a final practicum teaching English, and decided to live there after graduation and continue teaching.

Hazara Leon standing on campus with a purple background.

“And from there I guess it's history. I lived my best life abroad and now I just want to continue and take part in the field [of international education],” she says.

NYU Steinhardt’s master of arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs met her criteria for a graduate program that would offer hands-on experiences around the globe.

Hazara spent her 2023 winter break in Turkey visiting educational institutions and learning about their resources and processes for serving international students. She hopes to have the opportunity to spend her 2024 spring break learning more about international education in Ghana. 

Back in New York, Hazara has sought community at NYU Steinhardt through her involvement with the Graduate Student Organization, in which she served as treasurer, through an internship with the Office of Global Services (OGS), and as the current president of Steinhardt's Latinx Graduate Student Association. For OGS, she designs and leads events and programs for NYU’s international students to aid their transition to NYU and New York City. 

After graduation next summer, Hazara plans to travel to the city her parents left when they immigrated to the United States. “I'm going to Mexico City to reconnect with my roots and go through some of these restorative practices of healing from generational trauma, and learn a bit more about the history of migration,” she says.

She will also be applying for positions at minority-serving institutions on the West Coast where she feels she can combine her education with her personal experiences.

“That is a very salient identity [for me] as a first-generation Latinx woman, and I feel like I could give a lot back to my community.”

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