Q: Hi! Thanks for doing this interview. Could you introduce yourself to us?

A: Thanks for asking me to do it! My name is Nayonikaa Singhaal and I’m a first-year student from Delhi, India. Alma College is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before, particularly with regard to experiential learning. As a high school student in India, I had no idea what this meant. Now, I know there is a lot to your education that goes beyond the classroom. My friends back home tell me I am extremely lucky to be here. I agree with them.

Q: That’s excellent. How are your classes going?

A: Very well! I’m planning on double-majoring in political science and economics. Something funny that has happened is that I’ve come to love mathematics, which I’ve always disliked, up to this point. I think a lot of it has to do with my professor, Dr. Bradford Westgate. He is wonderful. But I love all of my courses, especially political science. All of the classes I’ve taken have been extremely different and very interesting, taught by faculty members who are very passionate about what they teach.

In one of my classes, I’m writing a paper on domestic violence in India, which is a topic that is close to my heart. It’s a long, challenging paper — more like a senior thesis than what a first-year student would typically write — but I like the challenge. I will be presenting it at Honors Day this year!

Q: I understand you’re a member of the Model United Nations (MUN) group. What has that been like for you?

A: It’s been interesting and wonderful. I did MUN for five years in India and I loved it. Whenever you walk into a conference room, there are so many active brains all around you. It’s stimulating, and in a weird way, it’s comfortable for me. MUN is very different here than it is in India, though, in a good way. It’s much more diplomatic and it’s more challenging. You have to be very prepared. But I’m making a lot of friends and I’m having a great time.

What I’m finding is that my classmates and I have similar purposes. It’s also a group that seems to attract international students — we have members from 11 countries on five continents. You can learn a lot about the world if you surround yourself with the right people.

Q: Are you involved in any other extracurricular activities at Alma College?

A: I’m a part of the Kappa Iota sorority, which is a lot of fun. They make me feel like I can be myself. I’m a part of the International Students club and the Julius Chatman Living Learning Community. I’m planning on pursuing a P-Global award and would like to go back to India to teach students there about the way we do MUN in the United States. I would also like to do a P-Global [trip/experience?] in Africa, but I’m not sure if I will have the time!

Q: You’re a very long way from home, which leads me to ask: Does Alma College do a good job of making its student feel like they belong here? Do you get homesick?

A: Alma College does a lot to support international students. I’ve never had something come up where a staff or faculty member wasn’t around to help me. The college also does a lot of smart, little things to make you feel like you belong here. For example, my classmates in my First-Year Seminar class are the same people who live with me in the residence hall. That makes you feel connected to the people who live near you, because you have at least one class together. I’m also staying really, really busy, in large part thanks to MUN. I’m too busy to be homesick!

Learn more about MUN and international education at Alma College by visiting alma.edu.