This International Student Found Community Through CNM And Wants to Help Other Immigrants Do The Same

Rotsy Josoa is originally from Madagascar and wants to bring together her heritage and experience as an immigrant to help others in the Black community find a sense of belonging
June 15, 2023

Rotsy Josoa was just four when she and her family moved from Madagascar to the United States so her mom could attend the University of New Mexico. They moved back home when her mom graduated, but then Rotsy returned to New Mexico when it was her time to attend college. 

“Even though I see Madagascar as my home, I wanted to be closer to my siblings who had stayed in the U.S., plus college was much more affordable here,” she says. “I also took classes at CNM in high school and loved the community, and I wanted to start my education in that kind of environment.”

Rosty is studying Psychology and excelling academically, but there have also been plenty of challenges.  

“Early on I was doing well in school, but I had a hard time being social, and I felt really isolated,” she says. “I didn’t quite feel like I belonged anywhere, and that was difficult.”

Then Rotsy met other international students at CNM and realized that she wasn’t alone. She immediately found a community and began to thrive.

Now, Rotsy works at the Student Services Center on Main Campus and is the president of CNM’s Black Student Union (BSU), an organization that helps students strive for academic excellence, encourages positive images of African Americans, and helps students become an integral part of the CNM community. 

“Being involved with the BSU has been so important to my success here,” Rotsy says. “Even though we don’t all have the same background, we understand each other in a way that others can’t, and that is very comforting.”

As Rosty and the BSU prepare to celebrate Juneteenth—a federal holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans—she is excited to help others understand the history of this important event. 

“We don’t celebrate Juneteenth in Madagascar because it’s a uniquely American holiday,” she says. “I didn’t learn about Juneteenth until I was in high school, and I was grateful that my teacher was willing to teach us about this important event in Black history. I know there are other Black children like me who don’t know all of our history, and through BSU and other initiatives, I hope we can continue to encourage people to learn about all aspects of history.”

Rotsy has one more term at CNM and then the plan is to get her bachelor and master’s degrees. She eventually wants to become a social worker so she can help others in the African American and immigrant communities. 

“I know what it’s like to feel lost as an immigrant, and I know what it’s like to be a Black child looking for your identity, and I think I can have the most impact on these communities as a social worker. I want them to know they belong here too,” she says.