International Student Pursues Writing & Film Career in U.S.

Through tragedy Shanea discovered an inspiration to write her first book while studying media arts in the United States.

Life just wouldn’t be life if it didn’t come with obstacles, heartbreak, and tragedy. It happens, but when it does how are we supposed to recover?

For Shanea Strachan, an international student from the Bahamas, she wrote a book.

Her father passed suddenly in December 2010.

international student voice magazine_shanea father“I left the Bahamas when I was 17 to go to school in the U.S.,” Shanea explained. “I went home for Christmas break and I called my dad and he said he was sick, that it was just a cold. I called my aunt since she was the closest to him and I knew that it wasn’t good.”

At midnight on December 27 Shanea received a call from her aunt that her father was taken to the hospital he passed away around 3 am that night. It was 6 am the same day when she received the news. Shanea said he had cardiac difficulties.

“It was sort of surreal, it wasn’t until I got to his island it hit me,” she explained. “We didn’t have a great relationship. He was very absent in my life. Two months before he passed I wrote him a letter, forgiving him, said how much I loved him and said let’s make it work. I lived in Nebraska at the time I found the letter and it inspired to write a book after his death.”

Shanea’s book Life Just Doesn’t Go On was published in June 2013. In the book she shares all her relationships from childhood leading up to her father’s death and the journey afterward.

“I hope the book could impact at least one person, if I can bring consolation for at least one person that is my hope for it,” Shanea explained.

After earning an associate’s degree at Northeast Community College in Nebraska, she’s now a year away from finishing a bachelor’s in media arts with a concentration in film and photography at New Mexico Highlands University. One of her major accomplishments includes creating a public service announcement for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This helped promote the university’s Campus Violence Prevention Program.

“I had a friend who was going through the situation, I wanted to raise awareness,” Shanea started. “Students don’t know about resources.”

Watch the video here

Shanea is working in post production to complete another video for the program that was shot in April.

My first day of college!

“My dreams are bigger than the Bahamas, I always wanted to do film making and I had to go to the States for my field,” Shanea explained.  “I wanted to be in the U.S. since I was a little kid. My mom said if I applied [to college] and got accepted, I could go. Everything fell into place.”

Shanea had some adjusting to do, just like many international students.

“It was my first time seeing snow!” Shanea laughed. “I had to adjust to the cafeteria food and the weather. It was extremely cold in Nebraska. But what really helped me adjust was getting immediately involved. I lived on campus which was really good. My advice [for international students] is to get immediately involved. Find an organization that relates to you some of your interests. Just get involved! It’s hard at first, but once you find your niche it will make the transition much easier.”

After graduation, Shanea plans to apply for OPT and work in the film industry.

Were you inspired by Shanea to share your story? Click here!

international student voice magazine_shanea bookTo learn more about Shanea’s book, visit the Life just DOESN’T Go On Facebook page. 

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