Wema Wachira '22

Interested in photography, art, and writing, first-year international student Wema Wachira hopes to use these mediums to bring positive change to the world. Her unique style and constant smile have marked all my interactions with her as a fellow Media Fellow. Wema was kind enough to sit down with me and talk about her global experiences and how they influence her life here on campus.

Her Campus: How are you liking DePauw so far?

Wema Wachira: It’s actually really good so far. I’ve had this feeling that I have room to grow and that I can be whatever I want to be. I haven’t felt that in quite awhile, especially in high school, because I felt kind of trapped in the sense that I came in late. Everyone had their own groups, and I couldn’t penetrate any of the groups, so I had to be on my own. In a way, that made me develop a stronger sense of self, but it also made me feel really isolated a lot of the time. I don’t feel that as much here, and everyone was new, so groups hadn’t formed yet. So I felt this openness, so it’s been good. I’ve been doing a lot of women and gender studies, which is stuff I’ve always wanted to do and immerse myself in. So a solid experience so far.

HC: What are your interests, academic and otherwise? Do you, for example, know what you want to major in?

WW: Women and gender studies is the love of my life. But I also want to do communications, and I’m also a Media Fellow. So I want to merge media with women and gender studies – not just women and gender, but also sexuality studies, because I care about that sh*t.

HC: What have you gotten involved in on campus?

WW: I’m a Media Fellow, so that’s something. I also want a radio show; I might get one soon, but I haven’t really done much yet. I’ve just been going to different club meetings, but nothing’s really stuck yet. I’m still figuring that out.

HC: So where are you originally from and where have you lived and traveled?

WW: I’m from Kenya originally. I lived there until I was 12, and then I left and moved to Guyana, which is in South America. I lived there for three years, and then, after that, my family moved to Lesotho, which is where they are now. We’ve been there for three years as well, but we’re moving again soon. So when I go back home in the summer, my home is going to be an entirely different place, which is kind of bizarre, but I’m ready. It’s fine, I’m used to it.

HC: After all that, how did you find DePauw?

WW: It’s pretty diverse, actually. There’s more diversity than there was in my high school. My high school was apparently pretty diverse, even though it was majority upper-white-middle class. But this is pretty diverse, I actually have an African crowd, which is great. I did not have that in high school, and I felt like I couldn’t express that side of myself, but here I can, which is amazing.

HC: Finally, how do you feel like your global experiences have shaped your experience in college?

WW: There’s just this sense of awareness that I have, and I feel like many people don’t have it because they spend most of their lives here. It’s enabled me to see different sides better. I’m just more exposed and more aware of different backgrounds and cultures. I’m able to kind of float between the two, because I’ve spent time here – I did high school in the U.S. – and I’ve spent time outside the U.S., so I can identify with different groups. That’s been key.