When Johnston Center for Integrative Studies student Maxine Mchunguzi ’20 was researching universities to attend, she was looking for places that had similar weather patterns to her hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa. Then she found the University of Redlands.
“We don’t have high school counselors in South Africa, so going to college takes a lot of research,” she says. “I knew if I was going to live somewhere that was out of my comfort zone, at least I could have some sunshine.” Apart from the good weather, Redlands stood out to Mchunguzi due to its location: “Because Redlands is close to L.A. I knew I would have the opportunity to complete internships there.”
When asked why she chose to go to college in the United States, Mchunguzi cites her innate spirit of independence. “I firmly believe in being a global citizen and I want to be exposed to the world and different cultures,” she says. “Coming to Redlands has allowed me to broaden my scope of knowledge and skills.”
Originally a media and visual culture studies major, Mchunguzi decided to become a Johnston student after taking a business marketing class during her first year. Her current emphasis is media, marketing, and communications—a curriculum she designed that combines film and other media courses with marketing and ethnic studies.
Her professors have played an important part in her educational experience. “Professor Kathleen Feeley taught one of my first courses and now she’s my advisor—she has always made me feel comfortable on campus,” says Mchunguzi. “I was able to bond with my marketing professor, Vernon Stauble, because he’d actually worked in parts of South Africa. I love learning from professors who have worked in the field I want to work in.”
Outside the classroom, Mchunguzi spends her time as a community assistant in North Hall, a dorm that houses internationally minded students. Residents regularly host language tutorials, meetings of internationally themed clubs and organizations, film screenings, and cooking classes.
Mchunguzi says she has become more independent and social during her time on campus, which has come as a surprise. “My interactions with other students have allowed me to dive into my passion for social justice,” she says. “Attending diversity events on campus and engaging in activism allows me do to more than just tweet about issues.”
Looking forward, Mchunguzi hopes to gain work experience in the U.S. and then work abroad, continuing her journey as a global citizen. “I love learning people’s stories and engaging with communities that have diverse interests,” she says. “Redlands is preparing me to do more of that in the future.”