My name is Joy Nongcebo Mahlalela and I am from the kingdom of Eswatini. Eswatini is a small monarchy located in Southern Africa. My country has definitely been one of the most important factors in shaping the person that I am today. From the robust culture to the importance of morals implemented in every Swazi from a young age, these are the things I hold dear to me.
I had the pleasure of attending Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA from 2013 to 2019. I think being at a UWC throughout my teenage years had a big influence on me defining my identity. One of the things the UWC experience taught me was to respect and appreciate people from all walks of life. Being from such a small country, the early exposure to diversity changed my perspective on a lot of issues: culturally, politically and academically. The best part of my UWC experience were the relationships that I made. The conversations and experiences I had at UWCSA went beyond academic experience and turned UWCSA into a second home for me.
The biggest influence for me when choosing Lewis & Clark College was the size of the college. Coming from a UWC, I wanted to go to a college with a small intimate community structure and I feel like L&C offers just that. Another thing I loved about L&C was the beautiful green scenery of the school that was pasted all over every picture of the college that I saw. I knew I’d miss Eswatini’s beautiful scenery, so I wanted my college to be surrounded by green to provide me with a sense of comfort. Lastly, L&C is very resourceful and rigorous academically and that’s the type of challenge I’m looking for. Currently I plan to double major in International Affairs and Environmental Studies. I chose to pick these two majors because I feel like in today’s world, foreign policy should be going hand in hand with environmental issues. I think that with my country being an LEDC, the foundation of such is only being laid out now and I want to be one of pioneers in enforcing this, hence my interest in these two majors.
My interest in International Affairs is particularly in foreign policy. Being from a monarchy there are sometimes issues with the state of politics and the leadership in the country, so I want to study this course to help me change the state of politics in my country for the better.
Honestly, I can never pinpoint my interests because I like a little bit of everything. I enjoy playing soccer and I have played for 7 years. On my previous team I was a defender but sometimes I’m a midfielder. Besides soccer, I haven’t found any other sports that interest me. One thing about me though is that I am very creative. When it comes to drawing, editing, DJ-ing, culinary skills and beauty, I am the girl for the job. I like growing my creativity skills and 2 years ago, I started a small acrylic nail business. Not only did it become a small source of income but it also helped me form a lot of friendships with my customers. In my spare time, I enjoy doing anything creative, exploring new spaces, hanging out with friends and eating new things. Another thing about me is that I am always smiling and I’m always ready to offer a shoulder to cry on, even to strangers.
As I embark on my journey at L&C I am hoping to get my degree, obviously, but also form relationships that will hopefully last a lifetime. I hope to partake in activities that will leave my little footprint at the college. Overall, I am so excited for this new chapter of my life!