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   Date: 1/13/12 Bookmark and Share

A Global Perspective

Global Studies profiles of AMS students:

Lisa Kuzel, Liesa Ruehlmann, Hamburg University

Miguel Fernandez Porras, Cordoba, Spain

The Global Stride program allows seven first-year STRIDE fellows 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.

An Interview with AMS student Sichu Mali, of Kathmandu, Nepal

By 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.”

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