Shivani Mehta '13
Tell us a little about your international journey.
I am from Mumbai, India, where I grew up. I have never lived anywhere else, so coming to SLC was my first experience living abroad. I went to a regular private school in Mumbai until 7th grade when I enrolled in an International Baccalaureate (IB) school called Ecole Mondiale World School. It was one of the first IB schools to have opened in Mumbai and certainly one of the best.
What made you want to attend college in the U.S.? What, if any, concerns/challenges/opportunities did this present?
Typically, if you go to an IB school in India, you're most likely to go abroad for further studies. Colleges for further education in India, especially for the liberal arts, are not very good and more than anything, the system they follow is very conservative. A lot of students go to the UK as well as the US. I did apply to schools in the UK but what made me decide was the system in the US. If I went to the UK, I would pick a major and study only that for three years without being able to change my major, which I could do in the US.
How did you learn about Sarah Lawrence College?
The Director of International Student Admission and Advising, Shirley Be, visited my school in Mumbai and a friend convinced me to go to the presentation. I was very impressed by the school and was glad I had found it.
What made you choose to attend SLC?
When I met Shirley, I had never even heard about SLC before. But it sounded like the perfect place for me, which made me think, why didn't I know about this! I realized then that it was one of those schools that are unique and are meant for unique people. For me, the major reason I chose SLC was the flexibility of the program and the fact that I could take dance and other academic courses.
What are your areas of concentration?
Psychology and French.
What was your first-year transition to life at SLC like?
I was terrified the first few days but I didn't realize how little time it took for me to feel at home. With the support of my roommates, friends, teachers, and Shirley, being at SLC felt right and it felt like home. Growing up in a city however, I needed to visit New York occasionally!
How would you describe your experience at SLC so far?
My experience at SLC has been life changing. I have grown so much since I first came here. My priorities in life have completely changed for the better.
What is the community like at SLC?
Being in such a small school, it is easy to meet people and make friends. There are numerous clubs, organizations, and committees on campus to get involved with. Classes are small and there are plenty of campus events. And in my experience, everybody finds their group of friends once they come here. It is a friendly environment. There are relatively more international students at SLC this year than the last and the International Student Union works hard to organize a couple of events to bring us all together!
How about the local community—have you spent a lot of time in the surrounding area? How about New York City?
I love visiting New York City! There is always so much to do! All year round, there are parades, sales, exhibitions, and so many exciting things for students. SLC also organizes many trips into the city and I always go for those!
SLC values international students because they bring to campus the richness and excitement of a global perspective. Can you give us some examples of how your perspective has made a difference in classroom discussions, etc.?
This is very true. For example, in French class when our teacher is trying to explain to us some cultural differences between France and the US, I always have something to add about the Indian culture and how it is different or similar in certain ways, which sometimes I am able to express with better clarity to my classmates for them to understand these differences.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I try not to think about that. But hopefully helping people in India.
What advice do you have for international students considering SLC?
Look into the course catalog and talk to current students and Shirley about your interests to figure out whether SLC is the best place for you!
Anything else you'd like to share?
I LOVE SLC! And being an international student here. People are much more aware here than other big universities where you generally get sucked into the international community. At SLC, it is easier to blend in with the community as a whole and have friends from the US and all over the world! I have learned so much about other cultures since I got here!