Read the blog created by Zuha Maryam Shaikh '13 describing her experiences at Mount Holyoke!
Indira Rakhimzyanova (Russia)
Pragya Bajoria (India)
I came to Mount Holyoke from India as an apprehensive "firstie," living alone for the first time. In my two years here, I have developed a deep attachment for MHC. I wonder what makes MHC my home away from home? Is it the picturesque campus I wake up to each morning, the international diversity that has broadened my perspective, or the academic rigor that makes me challenge myself regularly? I realize my love constitutes more than the sum of these factors. Sweet indulgences at M&Cs, intellectual discussions at SAW, and bonding over Chai Tea are the small things that make Mount Holyoke special to me. I feel a sense of belonging in this warm and embracing community. I have learned to appreciate my own culture and traditions, as I assimilate new experiences and values into my identity. I feel empowered as a woman, confident in my ability to make a change.
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.
Farima Afaq (Afghanistan)
I am proud to be an Afghan student at Mount Holyoke College, where among many other cultures I could also represent the Afghan culture. I chose to come to MHC because of its great diversity and have found the College to be a loving community, which represents the whole globe. During my time here I have had the opportunity to learn about so many cultures and now have friends from all over the world.
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!
Hyun Joo Yang (South Korea)
During my flight to U.S., I was really worried because it would be my first time living abroad and I had no idea what it was going to be like. Will I ever adapt? Won't there be any racism? Will I be able to make good friends there? However, as soon as I arrived at the airport and found Mohos, their warm welcome made me feel like I had arrived home. As soon as I arrived on campus, all my worries were gone. I was surprised at the large number of international students from literally all over the world. My first few weeks in classes were even more amazing because I could listen to brilliant ideas offered by students from diverse cultures. Being an international student among many other international students at Mount Holyoke makes me conscious of who I really am as a person, as a Korean, and as an Asian. But at the same time it teaches me how to open my mind to those different from me and to embrace these differences. It's an experience I wouldn't trade for anything else. I love being a Moho!
Nan Zhu (China)
I can still remember the exitement of learning a new country name during international student pre-orientation. My American roommate pointed on my world map patiently to tell me where the country is. Those names that I only saw on TV suddenly became alive to me. I definitely started to pay more attention to international issues after studying at Mount Holyoke, since those things were no longer happening in a place far away, but a place from which my friends came. I particularly enjoy hearing my friends discussing their opinions because they offer a more multifaceted and personal way to look at things than the media can provide. After three years at Mount Holyoke, I have made friends from all the continents (except Antarctica), travelled to 10 countries, and gained an in-depth knowledge of the world.
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!
Iman Abdulwassi Abubaker (Ethiopia)
I am a Muslim, Ethiopian, Black Woman in America. My first separation with my home in Ethiopia was my move to South Hadley to attend college at Mount Holyoke. After an emotional farewell with my family and friends, I began my journey without any expectations or any idea on when I would return home again. As I flew over Addis Ababa, I was feeling both excited and anxious at what was awaiting me on the other side of the world. Now I am 3 years older, 3 years wiser and 3 years more experienced. If I could go back in time, I would say nothing to the me sitting on that plane, I would give no advice or even any reassurance because Mount Hoyloke has its unique and powerful path for every student who walks through the gates. It's a place to discover your identity; things you never knew about yourself become apparent and you either learn to embrace your colors and/or you invent new ones to match your character. But all on the safe grounds of Mount Holyoke. I think that was the best part of being an international student at Mount Holyoke--there is a certain kind of safety and reassurance that you are given on a daily basis whether it comes in the form of what you learn in classes, the conversations you have with students and professors, the relationships you build with the fleet drivers or the dining staff, or through the organizations you join. Mount Holyoke is a safe place to explore your dreams, build your identity and gain experiences through your successes and failures. Lastly, Mount Holyoke provides students with opportunities to study abroad, funding for summer internships and programs for graduate school. I took advantage of all of these opportunities after returning from study abroad in Denmark (and travelling all over Europe). I worked for a summer in Ethiopia at the Environmental Protection Authority and explored possible graduate programs with Mount Holyoke faculty and staff. I truly cherish these opportunities because I know I would not have been so lucky anywhere else. Therefore, whatever your dreams, your background, your insecurities, or your beliefs, in some magical way Mount Holyoke is able to help you achieve them. All you need is optimism and a willingness to take advantage of all the College has to offer!
Shaheen Madraswala (India)
International diversity is the norm at Mount Holyoke. Since I've been here, the number of international students has only increased. My American friends often joke that they feel more like the 'international students' on campus! It's great to walk around Mount Holyoke's beautiful, secluded campus feeling so well connected with the outside world. There is diversity in almost every face that passes by. The languages spoken outside the classroom, the opinions represented inside the classroom, the ideas presented at student organization meetings are all reflective of a rich and diverse cultural heritage that Mount Holyoke promises to preserve on its campus. The internationally charged environment is responsible for making my MHC experience all the more meaningful. I love that I can now visit almost every corner of the world and be sure that I will find a fellow MoHo. As an international relations major I cannot think of a better learning environment. Class discussions, in my opinion, represent the diversity at Mount Holyoke the best- no two viewpoints will ever be the same and you will always leave the classroom aware that yours is far from the only way of knowing.
Ami Terachi (Japan)
I feel that it is a true privilege to be a student at Mount Holyoke. It means a lot for me to be studying and living with people from different backgrounds and with different ideas at a moment when I am trying to discover and create myself. It is not only about nationalities, either. Before I came to Mount Holyoke, I wondered if international students comprising more than 25% of the total number of students might be a drawback because it might be harder to make friends with American students, and there might be a gap between the two groups of students. I chose to come here anyway and it didn't take me more than one month to realize that my worries were unfounded. Being an international student does not prevent me from making friends, nor does it affect how people treat me. However, I can still find help when I need it particularly because I am an international student. All the professors including my advisor and all the staff I have met are very supportive. I always feel that I am in a very safe place. I really appreciate the college's continued effort to make this environment even more friendly to international students.
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.
Mengjia Wan (China)
Mount Holyoke College to me is like a big family. I felt warm and happy when I was welcomed by all the students from different countries. Moreover, professors here are great and give every student a lot of attention. They are willing to answer all questions and are extremely knowledgeable!
Anita Haidary (Afghanistan)
We all have dreams in our life which we want to realize and we try to find ways to realize them. I had dreamt of a college education, but I didn't know how I was ever going to be able to attend college, since it is very hard to get a good education in Afghanistan. I was always in search of opportunities and then I received news that I had gotten a scholarship to attend Mount Holyoke. I was very happy and felt fortunate. Before coming here, Mount Holyoke was just a name. After my arrival at MHC, I realized I was attending a college with a diverse community where everyone is friendly and there is extensive academic support. Now I am living my dream.
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.
Charu Sharma (India)
Namastey! I can't express in words how privileged I feel to have the opportunity to gain an excellent liberal arts education at Mount Holyoke. The books we read are authored by the professors themselves, the coaches are Olympic medalists and internationally-known athletes, the student body is motivated and extremely diverse. Ths students look so ordinary, but they have extraordinarily inspiring stories to share, and the intercultural dialogues broaden our perspectives in untold ways. Mohos are global citizens in the true sense. The campus is simply gorgeous! I can go on and on, but I will conclude by saying that since I've arrived here, I have changed. I am no longer a girl, but a woman.
Yang Song (China)
Being an international student at Mount Holyoke College is an incomparable experience, since MoHo is one of the most open and culturally diverse colleges in the U.S. No matter your homeland, this is the place where you will feel at home. I've not only gotten to know different cultures, religions and languages, but have also learned to embrace and appreciate diversity. I have become a more understanding and open global citizen.