October 4, 2011


In my two months working with the Office of Intercultural Affairs, I have had the opportunity to meet so many new students.

This past summer, the College invited four students from India to study here at Stonehill. They all graduated from Holy Cross High School, a school sponsored by the same religious organization as Stonehill.

I grew up surrounded by people who had very American sounding names – Michael, John, James, Janice, Cathy. Even in our own office, the professionals have names I have heard at least one time in my life.

When I first met the students from India, I realized they had names I had never heard of before. I admit, I struggled with understanding and remembering these unique names. Because I did not want to insult them by mispronouncing their names, I just referred to them as the “students from India”. It didn’t occur to me that lumping them together could also be insulting. 

The first few weeks of the semester have flown by and we have all come to know each other better. I have come to know them beyond just their names. Karuna shared with me the beautiful and graceful dances of her homeland. Each state has a native dance and dress.  The best of the dancers in each state compete and if they are chosen they are invited to perform both nationally and internationally.   Karuna also told me about her home in the “Eight Sisters” North East region of India.  The land is a beautiful lush green paradise, with waterfalls flowing from the mountains.

Neeraj is quite competitive and is always looking for an opponent to play him in his newly learned game of ping pong in O’Hara Hall.  

Prithak has shown his leadership skills and his humor brightens up the office whenever he is present.  Prithak shared his vocal skills during the singing of Happy Birthday to Alphonse this month.
Alphonse appreciates the beauty of plants and is willing to lend a hand whenever asked.  Even the rain does not keep him away from his volunteer work at My Brother’s Keeper.

I have shared stories of my sons’ Stonehill experiences as well as other family pictures and stories.  We have come to know each other over these past few weeks as people and as individuals.   Karuna, Neeraj, Prithak and Alphonse accept that I sometimes mispronounce their names.  I may even call them by the wrong name (which I blame on my age).  In my effort to learn their names I have come to recognize who they are as individuals and  feel so blessed to be working in an environment which allows me the privilege of knowing these students.