When Karuna Reang ’15, stepped off the plane in the United States for the first time, she couldn’t help but be a little apprehensive. She had left her family in northeast India and traveled thousands of miles to become the first woman from her Holy Cross high school to attend Stonehill College.
Members of Stonehill’s Campus Ministry and Intercultural Office greeted her and a group of international students with friendly faces and open arms. “I remember they all came and gave us a warm hug,” she says. “I was missing my mom, and I was like, wow, I feel at home. It was really welcoming.”
From seeing snow for the first time to sampling foods she had never tried — like ravioli and asparagus — Karuna has embraced her new surroundings and built friendships with students, staff and faculty alike.
Stonehill’s close-knit community is evident from the ties Karuna has developed with her professors. She says that most faculty members have an open-door policy, which has helped her to navigate the challenging coursework. “I go to meet my professors, even if it’s not during office hours, I can just walk in.”
While working towards a degree in international studies, Karuna has become involved in the Asian American Society, Diversity on Campus and RISE (Radiant. Inspirational. Sisters. Empowered). She is also a Moreau Student Minister, which helps her to continue to grow in her Catholic faith and stay connected to the teachings of the Congregation of Holy Cross—an important part of Karuna’s decision to come to Stonehill.
She has volunteered in Peru as part of Stonehill’s H.O.P.E. spring break service experience, spent a winter break work with victims of sexual assault in India and plans to complete a year of service after she graduates. “I’ve been given much,” she shares, “so I want to give back to the world, too.”