profiles of AMS students:
The Global Stride program
allows to apply their stipends
toward study-abroad costs or intensive language programs.
As part of the Global Stride scholarship, the fellows interviewed
and profiled international students in the college’s graduate
program in American Studies, to help familiarize
them with people who have made cultural transitions.
The Gate is publishing
their profiles in an occasional series.
Gloria Lee '15, Global Stride Fellow
Sichu Mali GR, American
Studies Diploma program
Sichu Mali is not a typical
AMS student. Just after turning 17, she left her home, family
and friends in Nepal with the determination and courage to
pursue higher studies as well as personal and professional
growth. In the process, she skipped 11th and 12th grades
to begin college early, at Mount Holyoke College.
Her solo journey halfway around
the world to the United States was not daunting to her, she
says. Rather, she enjoyed it, and felt right at home from
her first moment in the Valley.
She became familiar with Smith
at Mount Holyoke, taking courses here, and at Hampshire and
Amherst colleges. The welcoming and intellectually stimulating
community of the Pioneer Valley always appealed to her.
Now enrolled in the Diploma
in American Studies program, Sichu is committed to disseminating
knowledge about economics, finance, and global affairs, including
travel and women’s empowerment. To that
end, she regularly advises students from all around the United
States and other countries on managing personal finances,
interpreting domestic and foreign news, learning foreign
languages, studying abroad, resolving cultural differences,
and women’s issues.
Aside from academics, she is
actively involved in the Smith College Investment Club, collaborating
to assess the financial markets and investment options for
the club’s endowment fund. During the semester, you can also
find her working out in the gym.
When I asked Sichu what
she liked most about Smith, she replied, “The whole Smith
family—the students, the faculty, and other staff members.
Everyone here is so friendly and helpful. The faculty members
are really dedicated to their students’ education. Besides,
the college works really hard to make the students’ experiences
meaningful. The students are seen as assets.”
She appreciates the commitment
Smith has made to serve local and healthy foods in its dining
halls. “Not all colleges and universities are mindful of their
students’ diets,” she remarks. “Students at Smith have the option of kosher,
halal, international, vegan, and vegetarian dining with plenty of healthy salad
bar choices. I am glad that Smith recognizes the fact that the development of
a good student requires not only a rigorous education but also a healthy diet.”
Looking forward, Sichu is optimistic.
She aspires toward success, but has broadened her definition
of what that means. “I once thought success is the moment when
one reaches a certain level of achievement in academia, professional, or personal
life, but now I know that success cannot be defined by only one moment in life.
It is not about working hard for a particular period of time, and getting what
you want soon afterwards, rather, it is a constant progression, a struggle or
a battle that one has to wage throughout one’s life. Therefore, it cannot be
obtained without tremendous patience and perseverance in the face of adversities.
I believe that once these tenacious qualities are acquired, then only success
can be achieved.”
As for students planning to
study abroad, Sichu gives this advice: “Learn about
the country’s culture and its people as much as you can and try to immerse yourself
in them. Be open to new ideas and different ways of thinking and living. Be empathetic
even if you don’t agree with it. Think of the whole process as a thrilling adventure.”