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.
By Victoria von Saucken
'16, Global Stride Fellow
GR, American Studies Diploma program
Crepes with Nutella. Abercrombie
and Fitch clothing. Badminton.
These are a few of Mallika’s favorite things. A native of Geneva, Switzerland,
she speaks four languages (German, English, Spanish, and French) and she is an
accomplished athlete. But Mallika has more similarities with American students
She joins the Smith community
this year as an American Studies Diploma candidate with a
passion for sports and dance. The United States is not foreign
to her, though, having traveled in the past to places like
Boston, Miami, and New York City for annual vacations.
Mallika needed time to adjust to life at Smith, she says.
Compared to the University of Geneva, where she completed
her undergraduate studies, Smith is more academically rigorous,
while more flexible with course selections. For instance,
in Europe, students can take more than 10 classes per semester
because teachers rarely assign papers and quizzes.
feels she is learning more at Smith because the classes are
challenging and her teachers are very approachable. For the
fall semester, she is taking Hip Hop and Jazz dance, American
Society and Culture, History of Ancient and Medieval Western
Philosophy, Kung Fu, and special studies for her thesis,
which focuses on why female athletes receive lower incomes
and are less famous than male athletes.
Mallika is happy
that, in contrast to her European education, at Smith she
is not required to choose only courses related to a single
discipline, and can study a plethora of subjects. Growing
up in Geneva, her concentration was mainly on sports. As
a young girl, her parents exposed her to a wide variety of
physical activities, and she participated in badminton, tennis,
gymnastics, dance, volleyball, and basketball.
enjoys solitary sports, like dance and gymnastics, Mallika
prefers being on a team. She relishes the collaboration and
communication as well as the pure spirit that comes with
working as part of a team. She plans to continue her involvement
in sports and dance, through her studies and in her free
time. Sports and dance are where she feels most relaxed and
swinging a badminton racquet or practicing a hip-hop routine.
sport, badminton, which she has played since she was 6 years
old, offers both an individual and team aspect. She prefers
playing doubles, especially mixed doubles, because of her
skill and her interest in playing on a team. Mallika feels
a sense of purpose through playing badminton.
If she remains
in the United States after completing her American Studies
certificate, she envisions continuing to seek opportunities
to dance and play badminton, and may join an organization
working to curtail obesity. If she returns to Europe, she
will pursue a teaching career in the sports and philosophy
With Mallika’s talent and dedication,
anything is possible.