Global Learners: Tsion Girmay ’19


Name: Tsion Girmay ’19

Home: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 

Pronouns: she/her/hers 

Major: biology and African history

Global education experience at Mount Holyoke College: International student, internship, research abroad, classroom engagement with global issues, interaction with international students outside the classroom

Who is your global hero? Who do you admire for courage, activism, achievements and passion? Nelson Mandela is my global hero because he taught me how to think beyond myself. He prevailed over injustice and fought for the unity of human race. From being imprisoned for 27 years to becoming South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela’s life story inspires me to persistently deal with obstacles when tackling the world’s complex problems.

What instance or insight has stayed with you from your global learning experiences? As an international student at Mount Holyoke College, it never ceases to astound me how diversity and inclusion play a big role in being able to be who you are, with no fear of judgement.

I’ve lived my whole life in one place and Mount Holyoke has provided me with opportunities to learn from people with different upbringings, both in a classroom setting and outside of class. Being challenged to interact with people of various backgrounds has made me improve my thought-processing skills and challenge stereotypes. As a senior, I’m confident enough to say I am a global citizen, and I owe it all to the education that was provided to me within a diverse setting.

What advice do you have for students studying and interning in a culture other than their own? I cannot emphasize enough about how EVERY CULTURE IS BEAUTIFUL! If you come across an opportunity to study, intern or conduct research in a culture other than your own, take the chance and immerse yourself in it. Be very open-minded and you’ll learn how to overcome stereotypes and break barriers.

Join the conversation. Learn more.