Indian Student Association UMN

ISA-UMN was founded as Indo-Am as a way to provide professional and social support for students on campus.

ISA-UMN was founded as Indo-Am in 1986 as a way to provide professional and social support for International Students from India and South Asia, Local Students of Indian and South Asian Decent, and the University community interested in experiencing Indian Culture. ISA celebrates all South Asian cultures through food, music, dance, movies, and festival celebrations. We encourage everyone, regardle

Operating as usual

Photos from Indian Student Association UMN's post 06/27/2022

Happy Pride Month! Swipe to read about recent wins for the LGBTQ community, work that still must be done for equality, & ways you can support the pride movement as an ally. 🏳️‍🌈❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

Photos from Indian Student Association UMN's post 05/17/2022

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month! Swipe for Part 2 of how mental health manifests in different ways. (2/2)


Hello, my name is Anu (she/they), I'm a second-year master's student, going on for a PhD in Water Resources. Recently, I’ve started to think more about unanswered questions about my history and identity. I am mixed, Punjabi and white, so growing up a lot of Indian people would say I was not ‘actually Indian’. I faced rejection and struggled with that for a long time, but now I feel more secure and want to explore who I am more openly. I joined the Twin Cities Bhangra team, and that has been a true joy. Doing Bhangra with my family at events has made me feel closer to my roots, and dancing more often has helped that grow.
My grandfather had to cross the border during Partition and passed away when I was younger, so I never heard his story. While driving to Duluth last summer, I called my mom and finally started a conversation about it. I asked, “Mom, Nanaji had to move during Partition right?” She said yes and then talked about how she heard that they faced violence during their journey, but didn't know many details. No one talked about it much. I had heard a little about Partition growing up, but it wasn't until recently that I internalized its violence and how it affected my family. I wish to know more of that history.
Last summer, I came out as genderq***r and bisexual. Most of my family was supportive, but there were some relatives I hid this from, as I didn't know if they'd understand. I had this moment where I was being more open and confident in who I was than ever before, but still partially concealing myself. I’m the only openly q***r person in my family, so I’ve never heard if I have q***r ancestors. I feel like because of colonization it is so taboo to talk about, and we miss out on a lot because of that. I’m the eldest child out of all my cousins and siblings, so I feel it’s important for me to show them that even though we don’t talk about this as a family, it is okay to be open about it. I hope to explore q***r histories from the subcontinent to fill in this piece that's been missing. I'm glad that I've stepped a little out of my self-consciousness so I can dig into what being q***r and Punjabi means to me, and I'm excited to continue that journey.

Photos from Indian Student Association UMN's post 04/08/2022

It is Public Health Awareness Week. Swipe to read about access to healthcare in India.


Come and join us this Friday, 6-8 pm in Bruninks, for our Indian Perspectives discussion on VISA and immigration issues in the South Asian community. Pizza and hot chocolate will be provided! Hope to see you there soon 🗣




TODAYYYYYY💟💟💟💟(ft. 2021-22 and 2022-23 board)


T-1 DAY✨✨✨(ft. the new first years)


T-2 DAYS🤍💜💟💘💞(ft. 2021-22 and 2022-24 board wearing purple)


T-3 DAYSSSS👾🧞🌂(ft. 2021-22 and 2022-23 board wearing blue)


T-4 DAYSSSSS👗☔️🍇(ft. old & new co-presidents)


T-5 DAYS😈🕺🏾🌂(ft. the finance and business team from 2021-22 and 2022-23 board)


T-6 DAYS✨☂️(ft. the guys from 2021-22 and 2022-23 board)


T-1 WEEK💜🤍🖤🌑Mark your calendars!!!




I am Indo-Guyanese; so my family is from Guyana in South America. It has a half Indian population due to indentured servitude which was created by the British in the 1830s to both forcibly and coercively bring Indians over to the Caribbean to replace slave labor. My family has been there for generations, but I grew up here in the Twin Cities in north end St. Paul. I would say that Indo-Guyanese people have a strong connection to India, but it is very different. We connect mostly through religion and a little bit of language depending mostly on what generation you are. My family, from what I have been able to track down, came from the Madras presidency which is modern day Tamil Nadu so mostly South Indian. I had some ancestors that came from Kolkata and West Bengal and the North of Sri Lanka.

I would connect with Indians immediately in conversation, but the question of where I was from in India would come up, and I wouldn’t be able to answer. My Dad didn’t know much either, so I had to do a lot of digging into my own history and culture to really understand the huge implications of us being Indo-Guyanese. Even though I enjoyed watching Bollywood with my sister and my grandmother, I never felt fully included in the Indian community. A lot of Guyanese people have a very romanticized view of India, but when I went there, I only felt partially accepted into the broader culture. With casteism a surname explains where one is from. But whenever my surname was brought up to Indians, I would have to explain that my surname is not found anywhere in India and our surnames were merged through inter-caste marriages.

I grew up in a low income setting and am a first-generation college student at Macalester, so this accomplishment was a big deal, and my family is very proud. I am also on the board of our South Asian organization on campus MASECA and started our school’s Caribbean Identity collective, and am planning to study in Pune, India next year. I appreciate the fact that I can share Guyanese history and celebrate my culture. If I could, I would tell my younger self to continue my quest for knowledge, that times will get tough; however, God will be right by you.

- Micah



Photos from Indian Student Association UMN's post 02/22/2022

During Black History Month, we also wanted to discuss the health disparities that are present in black communities to this day. Swipe to learn more.


“I was a practicing dentist in India for nine years and some life altering events led me to change my track. Now, I’m getting a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology with a minor in biostatistics. When I first started working in India, I was married. I can give you a perspective as a professional and a married person. I had certain duties to perform as a married woman, which was not going well with my profession because it’s demanding being a doctor; you cannot just leave your patients hanging. As a woman in India and if you are married, it’s a challenge to work in a demanding field. I was the one managing my clinic and I was partially responsible for my earnings of the clinic.

Socially, everything that is related to the so-called “woman’s duty” is still prevalent in people with higher education or a part of higher societies. As a professional, I have seen that people who come and seek treatment are more comfortable when there is a male doctor rather than female. I find this weird because we learn the same material, understand everything, and try to implement everything in a proper way. According to research, we, as women, are more capable of compartmentalizing things and follow protocol. Even in my medical school courses, professors would come in and look at women in the class and say “we don’t have to worry about them - they’ll get married soon anyways”. The ironic thing is that those women are currently top practitioners in their clinics in the United States and in Canada.

Once, a patient entered the clinic and asked me about the treatment, its cost, and how can you proceed with this disease. While I was talking he was not looking at me but at my junior doctor. I calmly explained that I was the owner of the clinic and if he was interested in hearing professional advice, he should listen to what I was saying before looking at my junior employee. It opened my eyes to how persistent gender biases still are within our societies. If women are still not respected in these male-dominated fields, there can be no claim on gender equality. The gender roles already instilled into growing kids but now it’s important to try to break these gender roles down.” -Shweta

Photos from Indian Student Association UMN's post 02/15/2022

February is Black History Month. We want to take the time to highlight their contributions in a variety of sectors. This part will be addressing those is health, beauty, and wellness. Stay tuned for part 2.




Interested in being on ISA’s 2022-2023 board? Apply today! Applications close TONIGHT at 10pm. Late applications will not be accepted. Use the QR code to access the application packet. Good luck to everyone applying


Want to be more involved with ISA? Join our board for the upcoming school year! Applications are open now until FEBRUARY 13th at 10pm! Access the application by scanning the QR code below.


I’m Rimika and I am a freshman studying electrical engineering. On campus, I’m involved in Junoon, Engineering World Health and the Women in Engineering chapter of IEEE. When I was younger, for one of my birthdays my parents gave me a book about space, stars, and astronomy. I wanted to become an astronaut. After a few years, that dream morphed from being an astronaut in space to pursuing a career on earth within computer engineering.

Both of my parents are in the STEM field; they’re both software engineers. They have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. However, I started hesitating to get into the STEM field when I discussed it with my dance teacher and relatives in India. Sharing my dream to pursue Engineering with them first introduced me to internalized misogyny in communities, especially in India. I was faced with a lot of questions and concerns: “Why do you want to pursue engineering? You’re not smart enough.” “You won’t ever be able to get through it, you should probably start cooking and cleaning.” It was extremely demeaning to see everyone except my parents look down upon my ambitions.

Most of the time, even now, I’m the one of the only girls in my classes I know. It can be extremely empowering at times, but mostly it’s oppressive. From being mansplained to not even being heard during discussions, the experience can be discrediting. However, witnessing my mom and other girls in my classes achieving their goals in spite of these barriers has been extremely inspiring and helpful.

Conversations with my mom about the STEM field have been helpful. When she was in school, computer engineering was just developing. She reminded me that my opinions matter and I truly belong in this field if I’m passionate about it. She said, “at the end of the day, Rimika, you are the only person truly vouching for your success. You are good enough and strong enough to tackle these issues. In moments of doubt, remind yourself that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.


"I moved here when I was pretty young; I lived in the UK and India before that. When I first moved none of my Indian friends went to my school or were close to my grade. In school, there was this whole issue with bringing Indian food for lunch and it’s an experience a lot of kids go through. It fed into my insecurities of not feeling like I was Indian enough but also not American enough.

Growing up in the US, I have experienced many different attitudes towards “opportunity”.  It starts early where you're expected to always be doing very specific things at specific points in your life and I think it stems from societal pressures. You start to feel it when you're young and it becomes more and more prevalent as you get older. I was lucky to have found a group of people who didn’t believe that everything was a competition. With them, I could let my guard down and just be myself. I’m so thankful to have this group in my corner, even as I transition to college. 

An experience that I have had that is not very openly discussed among our generation has to do with American Immigration. The process is long and complicated; it is very difficult to attain appropriate greencards and visas. It impacts my family and many of my landmark life decisions. When I was applying to colleges, I didn’t qualify for so many scholarships because I wasn’t a permanent resident. It has impacted my eligibility for opportunities like internships and research. Even after college, it will continue to affect the opportunities I have and the decisions I make. This is something that silently affects many in our community.

If I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to internalize the saying “comparison is the thief of joy” and just to remind myself that everything will play out. Constantly comparing yourself to everyone around you is a fruitless activity since everyone has their individual strengths and weaknesses and we all find opportunities that fit us the best. If we stop comparing ourselves to others and start focusing on ourselves and opportunities and passions that genuinely interest us, I think we will all be far happier!" -Prapthi

Photos from Indian Student Association UMN's post 12/06/2021

Another issue that has been present for many years is voter suppression. Please read to learn more about this topic, its presence in India, and how it compares to voting in the US.


Come join us this Thursday to talk about returning to “normal” life. It is THIS THURSDAY from 6-8pm in room 121 of Bruininks Hall. Maggi and drinks provided!


Last but not least, we have Athira Nair!

She is a freshman studying Psychology with a minor in Linguistics. She hopes to becomes an International Lawyer. Being as busy as she is, she loves to indulge in a good bowl of fettuccine Alfredo.

That concludes our board introductions! We appreciate all the hard work and countless hours they spend to make sure we can serve the Indian community on campus.

Be sure to come to Dismantling the Narrative next Thursday and enjoy some Maggi with us! Also good luck these next 3 weeks.


The main reason we are not in shambles is because of our Advisor, Srilekha Garishakurti !

She is a junior majoring in Political Science and Sociology. In addition to that, she is minoring in Public Health. Some of her future plans include going to law school and getting a Masters in Public Policy.

Her astrology signs broken down:
Sun sign - Leo
Rising sign - Capricorn
Moon sign - Aquarius

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Our Story

ISA-UMN was founded as Indo-Am in 1986 as a way to provide professional and social support for international students from India and South Asia, local students of Indian and South Asian descent, and the University community interested in experiencing Indian culture.

ISA celebrates all South Asian cultures through food, music, dance, movies, and festival celebrations. We encourage everyone, regardless of their ethnic background, to take an active role in sharing an appreciation of Indian culture. Halfway across the world, we strive to nurture the feeling of togetherness among Indians by bridging the gap between America and India.

We host various events throughout the year such as the Fall Cultural Show, Welcome Back Picnic, Spring Formal, Chit Chaat Chai and other small activities and volunteer programs. Come join us in celebrating the richness of Indian culture!

Videos (show all)

There is still time to apply for our 2021-2022 board! Link to the application:
Here's our second video in the Indian Perspective Series! This video focuses on the LGBTQIA+ community and the recent de...
Thank you all who came to the Indian Perspective discussion last night! We loved hearing from everyone on their experien...
Hi everyone - please enjoy the intro video to our "Indian Perspective" series! This will be an ongoing video series,  so...
Pehla Nasha - Pehla Nasha
Cultural Identity II
ISA encourages all of you to take time to deliberate your journey with Mental Health. Mental Health is such a large topi...
Indian Perspective Video 2
Indian Perspective -Video 1-
Thank you to the friends and family that came to the ISA Fall Show- Masakali over the past weekend!! Board was overjoyed...



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