Supported locally, learning globally

After studying abroad in South Korea, Savvy Harcum plans a career helping lower-income families. Mount Holyoke’s supportive community provided inspiration.

From her hard-won vantage point in South Korea, senior Savvy Harcum ’22 speaks with assurance about her future career plans. Double majoring in economics and East Asian studies, she said, “I would love to do some kind of work for an NPO or an NGO that helps low-income families like mine.”

Witnessing financial challenges as she grew up gave Savvy a passion for economics. She was also driven by an interest in diverse cultures. Perceiving the Eurocentric focus of her high school classes, Savvy dove into East Asian studies at Mount Holyoke. “It’s important to have knowledge of not just the economy of different places but the cultural differences and reasons for why things are the way that they are.”

Savvy had studied Korean language at Mount Holyoke for a year and a half when COVID-19 hit, threatening her plans to study abroad in South Korea. Determination and hard work kept her on track. “I had to self-study so that I could test into the second part of Korean in spring 2021.” She credits the College with helping her graduate on time and study in South Korea despite scheduling difficulties. “I feel like Mount Holyoke did a lot to work with me — I feel like they really did their best to help everyone.” While Savvy wasn’t able to spend her entire junior year abroad as she had hoped, she was excited to spend her first semester of senior year studying at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

Calling herself a “proud red pegasus,” Savvy cherishes MHC traditions. COVID-19 trimmed the list of college events Savvy experienced, but she’s enthusiastic about those in which she participated. She looks back fondly on DisOrientation. And her Firstie Plant is lavished with attention — Savvy’s mother sends her photos of it every week.

As special as MHC traditions are, Savvy’s favorite thing about MHC is the closeness of the community. She also noted her many encouraging professors and the individual attention they give to students. “It's really comforting, and it inspires me to do better in my classes for my professors as well as myself.”

Savvy is also grateful for alum support.

“Mount Holyoke has given me so many opportunities that I never would have thought possible, like study abroad. Although financial aid was extremely important to me, without which I could not be here, I stayed at Mount Holyoke for the personalized small classroom learning experience, the amazingly supportive and caring community and the connection with alums whose support I am so grateful for.”

Savvy plans outreach to high school students for her Gilman project and in her upcoming alum years.

“Mount Holyoke’s support has allowed me to find out what it means to be me, to grow as a student and an individual, and for the help and support that I have received, I am so grateful. So for now I will do my best to pay it forward, and I hope that one day I will be able to pay it back.”