“I didn’t expect to become a Global Transition Assistant and see so many other students come in and enjoy their first day for the very first time, like I did,” said Lamba. “I’m emotional, but also happy to have come this far.”
Adjusting to American Education
Lamba arrived at Fordham as a shy teenager from India. She attended a Catholic high school, Holy Child Auxilium School in New Delhi, even though she is Hindu. (In her home country, attending a Catholic school is considered prestigious, she said.)
Last fall, Lamba joined the Fordham community. She wasn’t familiar with the American style of education—a liberal system where she could freely explore and incorporate her own thoughts and ideas, she said.
But in time, things fell into place. Lamba found a major that felt right—economics—and was elected vice president of the newly founded economics club at Lincoln Center. Lamba, an aspiring entrepreneur, said she hopes to host discussions about global economic events and invite well-known economists to campus as guest speakers.
Holding Onto Her Heritage Abroad
Lamba also learned how to celebrate her heritage abroad while embracing new cultures. She was elected event planner and board member of Desi Chai, a student club that celebrates South Asian culture with events like the Bollywood Ball, where students dress up as Bollywood characters. (Lamba cosplayed as Kareena Kapoor Khan from the movie “Jab We Met,” wearing a traditional kurta and jeans.) She also helped to plan a mock wedding or “shaadi” at the Rose Hill campus, in collaboration with Fordham University South Asian Entity and the Rose Hill Bengali Student Association. The wedding featured a bride and groom voted on by the students (who are not dating in real life), as well as traditional rituals and performances.
“India is known for its big fat Indian weddings,” Lamba explained. “It’s a fun way to celebrate the culture—and it’s not just India. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka—all the South Asian countries celebrate weddings with a lot of [fanfare].”
Over time, Lamba became closer with other international students on campus, including those from Azerbaijan, Morocco, and Norway. She was also touched by the kindness of the entire campus community, from the faculty, to the security guards, to the public safety officers. By the end of her first semester, she wasn’t as homesick as she thought she would be.
Lamba largely credits Global Transition with making Fordham feel like her second home. Through tours, presentations, and community-building events, she figured out practical things, like where to buy a SIM card and how to open an American bank account, and more complex things—finding friendship in a new and unfamiliar place.
“You’re an 18-year-old coming into a new country where you don’t know anything. Global Transition and the people were so nice—and focused on you,” she said.
Now Lamba is a mentor to six incoming students from Kazakhstan, Philippines, Switzerland, Vietnam, and her native India. She said she hopes that they maintain a positive and open mind.
“I was a very introverted person. Not very, but closed off, and I was trying to be someone I was not,” said Lamba. “Fordham helped me to be more direct—to be more of me, rather than someone else.”