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Finding a Home Away From Home During a Pandemic

Moon Sum’24 tells her story of finding a new home during a pandemic as a 1st year student from Cambodia.

Moon Sum?24 in front of the Beloit College sign. Moon Sum’24 in front of the Beloit College sign.
Credit: Phidor Kong’23
Channtha “Moon” Sum’24 is from Cambodia. Her intended major is Political Science. She started her first semester at Beloit College in September 2020, thanks to the SHE-CAN Foundation and Weissberg Program.  Nothing is normal for everyone during this pandemic. However, Moon still managed to finish her first semester successfully with unexpectedly good grades and experiences. “Since I am new to this country, I felt very nervous at first. I did not expect that my professors would be approachable like this.” She pointed out that as an international student who uses English as her second language, she always worried about her first semester at Beloit. Despite her initial fears, the Beloit community was very supportive, understandable, and protective of her. “Beloit College is my home away from home,” she says.

A screenshot during office hours A screenshot during office hours
Credit: Moon Sum’24
During her first semester, her professors at Beloit worked hard to find course materials and to design the class syllabus for students. They treated students warm-heartedly and used understandable approaches. Instead of complaining, all professors chose to communicate and listen to all kinds of situations. “Lisl Walsh was my professor for CRIS 165- Sex, Race, and Power. I learned to expect unexpected scenarios from her to avoid getting upset when things go wrong,” Moon says with a big smile on her face. She continues, “This first semester proved to me that Beloit is the best decision that I made for this year.” She is so proud to be a Beloiter and also feels lucky to be a part of the Beloit community. “Beloit counts everyone in and respects different identities, this is what I love the most. I feel included,” she laughs. She encourages other international students to choose Beloit and experience all of these things together.

Moon Sum is in the snow in front of Wood Building. Moon Sum is in the snow in front of Wood Building.
Credit: Voleak Phan’23

Besides academics, Moon was surprised by the first snow of the year.   Among the students remaining on campus during Beloit College’s winter break, she may be the most excited to see snow. While other students stay inside, Moon prefers to walk around campus to take pictures of snow. “This is the second time that I have seen snow in my life.” The other time was when she was elected to participate in the JENESYS Exchange Program in 2018, which allowed her to study abroad in Japan.

In sum, Moon seems to enjoy every moment that Beloit gives her and became a Beloiter very quickly. Beloit provides more than what she expected when she first arrived. “My first semester has been the best start as a Beloiter.”

Moon Sum’24
December 18, 2020


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