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Campus Celebrity Joyce Wamala ’17!

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Amherst chapter.




As school is coming to a close, we tend to precede every activity we complete this week with the phrase, “This is the last…”  To not break tradition, this is the last Campus Celebrity of the year.  This year, Her Campus Amherst has brought you students from all over the world with the most interesting outlooks on life and jaw-dropping experiences.  This Campus Celebrity definitely falls into the category.  If you don’t recognize her smiling face, you will know her by her soothing voice.  Joyce Wamala, Class of 2017, ends our segment of Campus Celebrity with a bang.  Read on to learn about her adventures at Amherst, the joys of identifying as two nationalities and how as a baby she miraculously stayed alive.

Where are you from?

Funny thing is when I get asked this question, it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve heard it before, I have to think about how to respond. I was born in Uganda, moved to Zimbabwe when I was 6 and I am moving back to Uganda this year. Basically, both.


Can you tell us a little more about both Zimbabwe and Uganda?


Zimbabwe is a savanna woodland type climate. It has all the major seasons including a winter that drops down to around -1°F. It rains in specific seasons and then becomes really hot or really cold the rest of the time. We have one of the world’s 7 natural wonders (The Victoria Falls) and we also have Hwange National Park( home to the big five animal group). We also have a strong appreciation for tradition and culture. The people are extremely friendly and welcoming, perhaps one of the things I miss most about home.

For Uganda, the climate is a lot different from here and from Zimbabwe. It is on the equator so it is mostly hot, humid and rainy all year round. The sun shines at maximum intensity all the time, so the greenery is just insane. The food is all organic and awesome and the people again, are extremely friendly even to strangers and find solace in faith and family. Uganda also has the big five, it has lake Victoria which is the source of the Nile. It is referred to as the “pearl of Africa” with good reason.


What do you miss most about home right now?

The people and the culture. The biggest culture shock to me coming here was how  “awkward” and I daresay dishonest, the dominant culture is. Everything here is very automated and independent, maybe even self-serving. Back home, everyone thrives on community and friendliness and I miss that.


Why did you choose to apply to Amherst?

Well, long story short, I had no desire to come to the US, because I could pursue undergraduate medicine in any other continent. The US is better with financial aid, and Amherst is excellent for both pre-medicine and financial aid for international students.


Did you visit the States before attending Amherst?

Yes. I was here for 2 weeks, but I don’t think that really counts. I was in Portland, Oregon.


What are you most passionate about and how did you continue that passion at Amherst?

I am most passionate about Human Rights, specifically a right to global health equity. I am also really passionate about faith, and I am personally a Christian. I sing in a Gospel Choir, I am on the Crew Team, I am politically active on Facebook [ she laughs], and I am involved in roughly 6/7 different religious meetings a week. Feel free to find me and ask about them  

 Were there any activities you participated for the first time at Amherst?

Well, we had Crew back home but I just always assumed it was for insanely fit people only. This is kind of true, but I guess you could say I’m now all for being insanely fit.


As the year is almost over, what was your best experience at Amherst?

My best experience at Amherst this year, ironically was getting so frustrated here that I had to leave to appreciate what Amherst is.

What plans do you have for the summer?

I am shadowing a few doctors that studied up here and work back home in Zimbabwe, I am modeling at a Model Management Agency in Zimbabwe, I am joining the leadership team at my Church Youth Group, and I am going on a family vacation to Uganda.


What do you hope to accomplish at Amherst before graduation?

I hope to incorporate some of my own cultural norms into the dominant campus culture, things like subconscious inclusion, religious awareness and appreciation, cultural competence and friendliness


Do you have plans for after Amherst?

Yes. This is embarrassing to admit, but I have a 10-year plan. I want to apply to Medical school here and work for some kind of Human Rights Activist Group while I wait to enroll.


What was the coolest thing you’ve ever done/something not well-known about you?


I was born 2 months premature, and there was a power- outage while I was still in the incubator. Uganda didn’t really have generators back then so it’s basically a miracle that I’m alive.

Carina Corbin graduated from Amherst College in 2017 and started writing for Her Campus during her first year. She was a Computer Science and Asian Languages & Civilizations double major that still loves to learn languages, write short stories, eat great food and travel. She wrote for Her Campus Amherst for four years and was Campus Correspondent for 3.5 years. She enjoyed interviewing Campus Profiles and writing content that connected with the Amherst community.