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Meet Faiza Feroz


Story by Ashley Rowland

It’s the small things that make aspiring nurse Faiza Feroz cry: seeing a parent walking with a child, or, at the end of a long day, going home tired and hungry and remembering how her mother would have her favorite dinner waiting for her after school.

As she prepares to graduate with her associate’s degree from Arrupe College, Feroz is homesick—for her parents in Burma, who lost much of their income after a 2021 military coup overturned the country’s democratic government, and for her two younger siblings, who had their educations disrupted amidst the violence.

“There’s not a day I don’t cry,” she said. “But Arrupe has been a light at the end of the tunnel for me. It’s like a family.”

Feroz is part of Loyola University Chicago’s Arrupe-to-Nursing pathway and will continue her undergraduate studies at the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.

While Feroz is the first in her family to attend college, she doesn’t fit the profile of a typical Arrupe student. Raised in Yangon, her father owned a trading company and the family was financially comfortable. She attended private school, speaks English fluently, and always hoped to attend an American university.

But the coup turned their lives upside down. The brutality of the new regime made it dangerous even to leave their house, and skyrocketing inflation left them with little money.

Amid the chaos, Faiza traveled to California to start college, but her family couldn’t afford to keep paying tuition. That, along with a tense living situation with her host family, prompted her to look for a change.

On the advice of a family friend, she came to Chicago sight unseen and spent a year working. She read about Arrupe online and “in my heart, I knew that this was the place for me.

Faiza works hard to earn good grades and has taken advantage of leadership and job opportunities. She founded the Arrupe Muslim Student Association and, through Arrupe, landed an internship at a Chicago-based food and agribusiness investment bank.

She dreams of becoming a traveling nurse in the U.S. or abroad, or even opening a hospital in Burma if the political situation improves. Medical care in her home country is often substandard yet too expensive for most families.

Arrupe has helped her gain confidence, and the warmth and support of its community lifts her spirits when she feels alone. She is grateful for Arrupe’s financial backing and wouldn’t be able to attend college without it.

“I want my path to be bright, and I try my best to be worthy of this gift I’m receiving,” she said.