Read the blog created by Zuha Maryam Shaikh '13 describing her experiences at Mount Holyoke!
Daphnne Kiplagat (Kenya)
I still can’t explain the fear I felt leaving my friends and family behind to start a “new life.” It was even worse because I did not know anyone, and I wanted to meet people maybe as scared as I was, so as not to be the odd one out. I've now been here a few months and I can’t believe it! I feel like I am at home- literally! All the smiles and warm "how are you’s?" make me feel good. The professors are amazing! One professor( Professor Margaret Robinson) has been genuinely interested in me, checking up on me and helping me with her class! Not to mention the ISOC members who picked me up at the airport! It feels like I just saw them, and I knew I was going to have an exciting and worthwhile time here at Mount Holyoke. I am really grateful to the whole community.
Nada Al-Thawr (Yemen)
When I first stepped through the beautiful gates of Mount Holyoke, I was overwhelmed with excitement and anxiety, but what I found here was beyond what I could have imagined. Aside from the beautiful campus, what came to me as a pleasant surprise was how friendly and accepting the MHC community is, whether it’s professors, staff, students or even Jorge, our beloved goose! Here at Mount Holyoke one can never get bored. Be it the amazing traditions, the events, parties, workshops, or fairs, you’ll always have a chance to participate in all the different events on campus. My favorite parts of Mount Holyoke so far are the library, Mountain Day and M&C’s (Milk and Cookies). Although I’ve only been here a few months, I’m already sad about having to leave Mount Holyoke when I graduate! I am absolutely in love with this place! Mount Holyoke is indeed the homiest home away from home.
Kuan-Chi Chen (Taiwan)
It is my first time to leave my home country and embrace the identity of an international student. I am glad that I am having this experience at MHC. It is amazing how I feel that I truly belong to MHC while there is still so much more to explore and learn about. Before I came, I was worried about blending in, but with such nice students and faculty, I am now busy participating in courses and endless activities on and off campus. I am surprised at the number of international students and the manifaceted discussions we have, even though I knew beforehand that MHC is a diverse college. Everyone can find a passion to strive for here at MHC, no matter where they come from. I must also recommend the Global Partners' Program in which I participated. I have had many fun and informative conversations with my Global Partner and I am looking forward to meeting others (and also sushi dinners) at the Global Partner meetings.
Sandra Botha (South Africa)
South Africa is, and always will be, home. As I prepared to come to America, I often wondered if I would lose my South African identity, since I would no doubt begin to take on American customs and mannerisms through the inevitable cultural integration. However, just a few weeks in and I no longer have any concerns on whether or not I identify more with SA or the USA, because here at Mount Holyoke I've discovered a diverse community that has opened the gateway for me to become a citizen of the world and gain a global identity. It's a pleasure and a privilege to be able to call my family back home and tell them about my fun outing with fellow students from Japan and New York and my thought-provoking discussions with Pakistani and Canadian women, as well as my weekly lunch with a group of friends from Haiti, Ghana, California, Russia, and Massachusetts respectively. Yes, I have already begun to take on some American colloquialisms and I'm sure that many more await me; nevertheless, there is something to be said for doing so while also learning from so many other cultures at the same time. It is difficult to give expression to the feeling of enlightenment I experienced upon discovering that Haitians and South Africans have a similar sense of humor, or that I have more in common with some Pakistani traditions than I ever thought possible. Mount Holyoke is not just a reputable institution of higher education. Nor is it only a leading establishment for women's education. MHC is an interactive global web that has led me to make world-wide connections, and will help bring me to people and places that I never thought possible.
Tehreem (Sara) Kamal (Pakistan)
I came here not knowing what to expect, having no friends or relatives, and literally stepping into another world after flying for 20 hours straight. Everything I saw was beyond anything I could have hoped for. From the breathtaking campus and my super comfy room with lots of closet space to the people with whom I spoke, be it upperclass students, deans, or administrators. Everyone was willing to help and guide me even if I just needed to find the library. I feel like the Mount Holyoke community embraces those who join it. Everyone is welcoming, accepts you, and helps you grow. So...whoever you are, from wherever you come, just know that at Mount Holyoke you will belong.
Anisha Pai (India)
As an Indian student who has lived her whole life in Qatar, while attending the same British school from preschool to graduation (basically a third culture kid), I expected Mount Holyoke to be a little more difficult to settle into. However, even though I've only been here a month, the college already feels like home. It's like a macrocosm of my best friends in high school where everyone is so welcoming and eager to discuss their interests and intellectual pursuits. The best thing about this college is how kind and willing people are to assimilate firsties into the MoHo life. I'm well on my way to making life-long friends from all over the world who continue to teach me so much more about being a global citizen. Coming from an extremely international community, I don't believe I would have fit in so well, if Mount Holyoke didn't harbour such a diverse population of international and domestic students alike. The classes are beyond what I could have hoped for and I am already learning so much more about my Indian culture than I ever could growing up in Qatar. Honestly, though, I was most surprised by the sizeable number of Arab and Arabic-speaking students here, who have really made the school feel like home. Though there were a few adjustments I wish I had known about before arriving (e.g., everything is punched for three hole binders! And everyone uses US letter-sized paper! Leave your A4 sheets at home!), many of my major anxieties were unfounded and I've been able to work through the minor culture shocks with a plethora of other new international firsties. All in all, I think I've managed to carve out a lovely beginning to my next four years in my new MoHome!
Tan Su (China)
Before I came to Mount Holyoke, I barely knew anything about politics or the political situation in the world. Through spirited and impassioned debates on various issues with my peers and professors, all from diverse backgrounds, helped me to understand political developments and interactions between countries around the world. I have been shaped by the arguments which both challenged and reinforced my previous ideas and perceptions. I appreciate the diversity among the students. Discussions with them shattered many preconceived notions about people and countries. Moreover, in these conversations across cultures and borders, my ideas and contributions also helped to change others' stereotypes about my home country, which was very encouraging to me.
Ioanna Deni (Greece)
I am a first-year student from Greece and, as an international student, I really appreciate the multicultural environment at Mount Holyoke College. Students are all different parts of the world! Yet instead of focusing on the differences between our countries, we concentrate on the fact that we all come from different places, but now all want to be part of a large and very diverse community. Everyone brings something from their own place and all are eager to explore the cultures of countries new to them. As an international student I feel like I am part of a family into with whom I share my particular ideology while learning from others about new ways to approach life.
Javeria Kella (Pakistan)
As an international student, one of the major reasons for coming to Mount Holyoke was diversity. I expected nothing less than what I see here on this beautiful campus. There is obviously a lot of diversity in terms of nationalities, but also much cultural, ethnic, religious, racial and ideological diversity. Walking around the campus you can hear people talking in languages you have never heard before. Being particularly interested in international relations, I now have the opportunity to have real interaction with people from diverse groups, something I might not have had a chance to do otherwise. This place eventually becomes and feels like home… trust me; it doesn’t take long to fall for MoHome! I am not particularly homesick (though I definitely miss the spicy food) because there is always so much going on around campus - there is so much to learn and so much positive energy, all of which keeps me occupied and energized. I love the fact that my social circle is already so diverse, even though college has just started. The joy of learning a few words of a different language, or talking to a person from a country that is not recognized diplomatically by Pakistan is absolutely amazing. Personally, interacting with international students gives me a broader picture/perspective of the world outside Pakistan, the world that does not exist on news channels or in newspapers. This international diversity has increased my knowledge base and made me more self-aware. U.S. students also make this whole experience more homey and are also absolutely welcoming! In my mind the lyric of our alma mater will always ring true: Mount Holyoke forever shall be.
Urangarav Tsogt-Erdene (Mongolia)
Having lived in the States since the 4th grade, I was already very well-acquianted with American culture when I arrived at Mount Holyoke. While I was born and had grown up in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, I considered Chapel Hill, North Carolina to be just as much of a home for me and thus felt like both an international and a domestic student. However, I met a Mongolian transfer student during the first week of MHC Orientation and was told that, while I was the only Mongolian first year, there were FOUR Mongolian juniors already studying at Mount Holyoke and they would all love to meet me! Having been a part of the only Mongolian family in Chapel Hill and one of the only Mongolian teenage girls in North Carolina, meeting others my age from my country was like realizing what I had been secretly missing all along. While the astoundingly high percentage of international students at Mount Holyoke was one of the reasons I chose this school, I never expected to find so many students from a country as small as Mongolia here. In fact, I've met people from all over the U.S. and the world since arriving, people from places about which I've only read, people truly from all walks of life. And that, in my opinion, is diversity done the Mount Holyoke way!
Lia Kapanadze (Georgia)
Being at MHC makes me feel like a citizen of the world. I have friends from every continent (except Antarctica!) and can listen to over 20 different languages just within my circle of friends. My views, perceptions, and opinions about the world have been turned upside down and inside out since my first semester here. I feel my eyes are now wide open and will stay that way.
Anisha Baidya (Nepal)
If there is a heaven on earth , Mount Holyoke is it! Mount Holyoke offered me compassion and found the good in me when I myself could not. I had to go on a medical leave twice during my stay at MHC. However, the College never made me feel unwanted. There was a point when I thought I will never make it back to this paradise. If it were not for the constant support from the school (the academic deans, the McCulloch Center, Student Financial Services, Health Services, all my professors and friends, and the entire campus community), my family and friends, I would have never have returned! ! I am indebted to MHC! Finding a place 7,400 miles from home (Kathmandu, Nepal) is not easy, but I found one: Mohome! Yes, I dreamed a dream and now I do not fear, I have changed!
Saltanat Ansari (Pakistan)
Being a student at Mount Holyoke means being immersed in an amazing perpetual learning environment. Traveling here all the way from Pakistan was a huge deal for me, of course, but I am so glad I did it. MHC is literally a melting pot of cultures, which I didn’t actually realize until I came here and experienced it first hand. Mount Holyoke embodies diversity. The fact that I can represent my culture, my country, and, most importantly, myself through a multitude of avenues is massive. I always like living amongst people and things that can give me flight rather than pull me down. I can truly say that Mount Holyoke is helping me to fly. It's definitely never easy to live away from home, but seriously, every day at MHC things just get better.
As an international transfer student< I came all the way from Russia and the Outer Banks (of North Carolina) to join the Mount Holyoke community. For me, it was the best decision I ever made. MHC feels like home to me. I cannot speak enough about the wonderful amount of support this school has given to every one of us. The sense of community, passionate students and engaged professors are the best! I love that most classes are very small, which allows you to engage in truly intellectual discussions with your peers and the professors. It is easy to get in contact with your professors, who are always willing to help by answering any questions I may have. Mount Holyoke was the first school that I applied to, and I am so happy that MoHo chose me.
Ana Capi (Albania)
When people ask me about what I feel I have accomplished thus far in my life, I am happy to say that one of my biggest accomplishments is coming to Mount Holyoke. We all have dreams and hopes, and having them fulfilled is what makes us happy. After receiving my admission letter from Mount Holyoke, that’s how I felt, genuinely happy. Coming to this school, I was fascinated with the unbelievably beautiful campus and the amazing diverse community that makes one feel so welcomed and at home. The inspiring stories, people, and conversations motivate me and fill me with dreams and the passion to do great things every single day. I feel that Mount Holyoke has helped me grow in so many ways--I've become more independent, and determined to fight for my dreams and what I believe is right, because it was this school that taught me that everything is possible, if you want it badly enough. MoHome will always be my home away from home.
Natalia Naveed (Pakistan)
Before joining Holyoke this fall, I had my reservations about studying at an all women's college for the next four years of my life. But ever since I stepped into my "college experience," all those suspicions disappeared. At Mount Holyoke I felt accepted. I could practice my religion, bring my culture along with me and, most importantly, be myself. Everyone from deans to upperclasswomen have been tremendously helpful, and the always cheerful environment on campus has made my transition to college a lot less stressful. So rest assured that no matter your country of origin and regardless of your beliefs, at "Holyoke" you will always find kindred spirits. There is complete freedom here, not to mention and my favourite and delicious Chef Jeff cookies for M&Cs every night!
Mei Jing (Jeanie) Lim (Malaysia)
MHC is a small college with huge diversity; a small community with a big heart for women's education. At this beautiful campus set in a small, friendly town, I am surrounded by such a diverse community that it sometimes feels like I am being submerged in a sea of over half the world's cultures, heritages and traditions. There's so much to learn and appreciate about the world! The diversity on campus allows me to explore and engage with people from so many different corners of the world. There is no better way to share and broaden my world view than this.
Siddhi Shah (India)
At Mount Holyoke, I don't feel like an international student. I feel like a member of a really large family. From the moment I stepped on campus, I knew this is where I belonged (A part of it probably had to do with the campus looking almost exactly like Hogwarts). Mount Holyoke is the kind of place that will never ask you to change and become something you're not. It's the kind of place that will give you the confidence to embrace who you are. After all, there's a reason we all call it our 'MoHome'.
Yujia Guan (China)
Diversity at Mount Holyoke is not only about the wide array of ethnicities, nationalities, religions, etc. It is also about the great variety of personalities, talents, perspectives, and passions. Inclusiveness at Mount Holyoke is not just about living together in the same community and respecting each other. It is more about staying connected and caring for each other after graduating and and beginning our post-college lives. Every time I meet a Mount Holyoke student or alum in some part of world, I am frequently surprised by the diversity and variety of choices they have made as students and graduates. But the one constant seems to be their values: a fervent commitment to social justice, a desire to see women continue to become leaders in all societies, and a dogged determination to make the world a better place for all. They have remained true to these values, which were supported and sustained during their time at Mount Holyoke.
Maria Jose Correa (Argentina)
I am from Argentina. Many South Americans live their lives isolated from the happenings in the rest of the world. Many believe that all people live in the same conditions as they do and also, that women have the same struggles as many of them. When I came to Mount Holyoke, I not only discovered the amazing diversity in the student body, but also how education could help me learn to respect and tolerate others while learning from them. When I share a classroom with other MoHos, there is only one difference between us, our passports. Our curiosity, interests, and passion for learning is the same, regardless of where we live. Mount Holyoke has shown me that with education there are no barriers that can stop us from being successful. We are all citizens of the world.
Ting Wei (Canada)
As an international transfer student from Canada and Taiwan, I was at first apprehensive about making the transition to Mount Holyoke. My previous college did not have a large or diverse international student population. In contrast, Mount Holyoke offers incredible diversity; the people I’ve met hail from all over the world. The richness of Mount Holyoke’s global campus is definitely a unique characteristic. I knew Moho was “home” as I began to settle in. I definitely made the right choice in transferring here, and I’m excited for the rest of my Moho journey!