Written by Chhavi Nahata, Stanford University, College Contact Counselor
People from all over the world come and study at Stanford University. I’m from India and there were 19 kids in my batch from different parts of the country as well as 8-10 students from Pakistan. Going to classes, talking to strangers in the dining hall, and social dancing with various dance groups have put me in contact with so many different people from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The common data set provides a list of the ethnic and racial backgrounds from which students have been given admission. (pictured below)
The university celebrates festivals from all over the world and of all religions with a lot of love and fanfare. Watching my classmates enjoy Diwali and Holi as much as I love soaking in the Mardi Gras festivities and Thanksgiving lunch is one of the things I love most about Stanford. The dining halls are open until late during Ramzan and people gather and pray together at Old Union. My American and Nigerian friends like to dress up and go to desi parties and invite me to Afrobeat dj nights. There are numerous clubs for even minority groups to find community and build friendships outside of dorms and classes. There are dorms for specific ethnic groups- Ujamaa (African American), Casa Zapata (Latinx and Chicanx), Muwekma-tah-ruk (indigenous peoples throughout the Americas and Pacific Islands), and Okada (Asian American). The non-theme dorms and fraternity and sorority houses are mixed. I also had the opportunity to stay in Ujamaa- the African American dorm for a quarter and I consider that my home on campus to date. I have never met so many like-minded folks and loved spending time with them.
People are generally very warm and welcoming to weekly social events organized by the different neighborhoods on campus. Learning from my peers and listening to their stories about home, their upbringing, customs, and beliefs has made my college experience infinitely richer. I feel like I know and understand why people are different in the way that they speak, build bonds, host people, and express emotions deeply now. And that continues every day!