Ashinaga Scholars: A Day in the Life (Part 1)

October 20, 2016 — After many months and even years of hard work and anticipation, our five new students have finally began their college journeys here in the US. One of our students, Lerato from South Africa, arrived at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts eager and excited to start her college career. Founded in 1837, Mount Holyoke College was the first institution established in the Seven Sisters league. Today, it is still an all-female liberal arts college that boasts a diverse student population.


Lerato’s experience at Mount Holyoke College thus far has been very positive. According to her, Lerato did not know what to expect about the people she would meet on campus before arriving at Mount Holyoke in late August. Since then, she has been pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming gratitude and acceptance of the community. “People are so kind,” she says, “and everyone is so diverse and welcoming.”


Lerato says her biggest challenge so far has been adjusting to the intense workload of her courses. But with the support from her Ashinaga family and campus community, she is facing the challenge head on with a positive attitude. Now halfway through the semester, Lerato is undergoing a period of stressful midterm exams, but she has found ways to manage. She says dedicating some time at the end of the day to unwind with her friends has been helpful. And now that the seasons are beginning to alter her surroundings, one of her favorite ways to destress is to take walks around Mount Holyoke’s gorgeous campus and admire the natural beauty of the autumn colors.


Lerato is currently taking courses in economics, anthropology, Latin American history, and politics of the self. She is enjoying having the freedom to explore different interests within the liberal arts setting. Lerato is very thankful to have found Ashinaga and to be studying in the US.