Attending college is one of the greatest experiences life has to offer. Read on to find out how a young girl from Nepal learns to have fun in an all-girls college.

It all started as I began with a list of colleges that were in line with my academic competence and extracurricular involvement. However, deciding on the school I wantedto go to and which school I couldgo to was a challenge for me. To make things easier, I started to make my priority list. Hollins University was one of those schools that seemed to promise me a perfect start as an undergrad student.

I am a person who loves to have choices and so a Liberal Arts college gave me that freedom to choose from a wide array of subjects. I wanted to study psychology, something with feminism, dance and even something to do with designing. Hollins had courses offered that could make it all possible. Once my freshman year began, I took a Psychology class, a Gender and Women’s Studies class, a dance class and tennis for P.E. Currently I am taking two psychology classes- Child Psychology and Motivation and Emotion, one GWS class - Food, Culture and Social Justice, one Sociology/Business class-Organizational Behavior and my personal favorite at the moment - a theater class which is a costume designing class. I am exploring new subjects, polishing my area of interest and also keeping up with sports. Amongst the many clubs that Hollins students run, I am a part of the GIA - Global Interest Association club which attempts to bring diversity in the campus with its various events like potluck and cultural shows.

Not everyone chooses to stray away from the glamour of a big city, but I wanted to go to a small, close-knit university and it has been working great for me. Hollins being a small private college provides all the needed faculty attention to their students. A smaller class size allows attention on every student and learning is more effective. It is very important for me to know my professors and not hesitate to knock on their doors at any time to clear my queries. Also, Hollins students get to know each other, either through their various student organized events or at classes or at dinner tables. There is never a point where one is left out. From the very first day, I realized how warm people are here and I was totally into the sense of community. Hollins also runs on the Honor Code- the student body law that everyone pledges to, and so justice resides in the community. Everyone treats their fellow friends with so much respect and love. Friends are always a call away if you need help from anyone at any time.

Attending an all women’s or a co-ed school was the least of my worries, but now that I am here, I think I took the right decision. Everything from the quality of education, extracurricular activities to sporting events seem similar to that of other schools. However, I feel the environment is much more empowering. There is freedom to explore and exploit opportunities and resources. Being surrounded by competent, confident and charismatic women, you feel like one of them; more so, you feel like taking that extra step to be one of them and bring out the best in yourself. The more you get involved, the more you learn more about yourself and feel more comfortable and confident in your skin.

Hollins pulls every string to help international students feel like home through its various programs. One such program is called ISOP which is International Students Orientation Program. This program is designed only for those students who travel miles to be at Hollins. Therefore, there are students who share the same experience of being away from home that brings them extra together. ISOP organizes various activities before starting school and continues to give attention to their international students throughout the year. Some of the events ISOP organizes are snow-tubing, movie nights, bowling and game nights. International students also participate in events organized by the cultural and community engagement program. It sponsors events such as Intercultural Reception and we recently celebrated International Women’s Day. Events like these give me the perfect platform to present my dance skills and introduce to the Hollins community a part of Nepal.

In addition to this, I knew I needed it to feel a little like home if I were to leave my hometown for a long time. I needed to feel sound both in and out of my head. Therefore I decided to start not at an urban but a sub-urban area and surrounded by hills on all sides, the valley of Roanoke makes me feel much closer to our Kathmandu. The city isn’t very busy with buzzing cars and loud nightlife; neither does it have forests of escalating buildings or fancy malls. The city is perfect for a focused environment with fewer distractions, which is a priority for me. I can also easily navigate the area and now I feel much more confident exploring stranger and bigger cities.

And so, as the schools motto goes, I do believe that women who are going places, start at Hollins.