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Diversity of Experiences Sima Sharma ’18 used her time at W&L to explore her passion for the world and its various cultures through volunteering and study abroad.

Sima Sharma ’18

“My study abroad experiences in China and Scotland have enriched my understanding of the world and aided my personal and academic growth, nurturing my passion for learning and making me more open to and receptive to change.”

Sima Sharma ’18
Majors
: Computer Science, East Asian Languages and Literatures (Chinese)
Hometown: Singapore

As I reflect back on my Washington and Lee experience, I realize that I have grown in ways I could never have imagined when I first arrived here. My time at W&L has enabled me to explore my passion for the world and its various cultures. By becoming actively involved in the Multicultural Student Association and the Student Association for International Learning, I was able to plan and organize multicultural events that promoted the understanding of diverse cultures in the W&L and the Rockbridge-area communities. My study abroad experiences in China and Scotland have enriched my understanding of the world and aided my personal and academic growth, nurturing my passion for learning and making me more open to and receptive to change.

I have become a more engaged volunteer during my time at W&L. I tutored students in Rockbridge County Schools who learn English as a Second Language by helping them with their English and reading skills. I have also been fortunate to volunteer several times with W&L’s Nabors Service League in under-resourced cities such as Charleston, West Virginia, and Birmingham, Alabama. Before coming to W&L, I was more involved with the fundraising aspect of volunteer work. W&L has given me opportunities to become much more involved in directly volunteering, an experience which I find incredibly fulfilling.

Lastly, another key part of my W&L experience was understanding and articulating my own cultural and national identity. Although I was born in the U.S., I largely grew up in Nepal and Singapore. Having never spent significant time in the U.S., aside from the occasional family visit, my understanding of American society and culture was mostly informed by my family, my peers and my education rather than through firsthand experience. My time here has helped me better understand American society and the diversity of experiences in this country. Learning about different perspectives, whether from my classes, extracurricular involvement or conversations with peers, has helped me understand how my experiences have shaped and continue to shape me into the person that I am today.

The last four years has significantly expanded my worldview and made me become a more well-rounded and engaged individual. What I have learned has transformed my understanding of the world and of myself, and this will surely continue to benefit me as I move forward.

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A little more about Sima

Extracurricular involvement
Multicultural Student Association
Student Association for International Learning
Rockbridge County Schools Tutor
Student Environmental Action League

What’s your personal motto?
“The only constant thing is change.”

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
I wish I had known how cold Lexington could be. Living in a tropical country (Singapore) had ill-prepared me for any weather below 70 degrees.

Post-graduation plans
I plan on gaining work experience in the tech industry after graduation. After a few years, I plan on attending graduate school.

Favorite W&L event
Mock Convention. I found the talks and the events very informative and interesting.

Favorite W&L memory
Nabors Service League alternative break trips. I enjoyed volunteering and helping out under-resourced areas during our breaks, while also meeting W&L alumni who were passionate about volunteering.

Favorite class
Death and Dying taught by Professor Marks. Although the subject matter could be heavy at times, discussing cultural and religious viewpoints on death helped develop my perspective on an important, but rarely discussed, topic.