Reflections from a Zimbabwean Grace Scholar: Chido Shamuyarira
The Grace Scholarship Program is the result of a partnership between PVF and a donor to provide the critical gap funding necessary for bright, low-income Zimbabwean students who are a part of the US Achievers Program (USAP) to study at US and European universities. We interviewed a few of the Grace Scholars to learn more about their background, experiences in college, and plans for the future. Below is our interview with Chido Shamuyarira, a second-year student studying International Business at Cottey College in Missouri.
Tell us about your decision to study outside of your home country.
Being from a low-income family, studying abroad was never a thought of mine because I knew I did not have the finances; I just looked into local affordable universities. I did not know USAP existed until an alumni from my high school, Sancharz Gore, presented on this program she was a part of. I applied to be a member, as I saw it as a ticket of reducing financial burden on my parents. Thankfully, I was accepted into the program, and through mentoring from Mrs. Rebecca Zeigler Mano and Mr. Chenjerai Katanda, I realized it was an opportunity to enhance personal growth. I realized how diverse America as a whole is, and I wanted to gain not only an education, but global awareness and have access to a wider choice of degree programs.
Was it difficult transitioning to a different culture?
Moving into a different place comes with difficulties. The hardest thing to adjust to was communication with my family due to the time difference. I became close friends with a fellow Zimbabwean at my school, Yustinah Ndambakuwa, who helped me adjust to the new environment.
What types of activities are you involved in at school?
I work as a residential receptionist, which has given me the opportunity to meet and talk with a lot of people. I am part of Enactus, a business organization that has helped me to start brainstorming business ideas that would benefit my country. As the Phi Theta Kappa treasurer, I have learnt how to plan fundraising events and research the needs of the Nevada community. I am a member of International Friendship Circle (IFC), which has given me the opportunity to bond with other students from different countries and states. I have gone on trips with the school: Midwest Model United Nations Conference, Baobab Conference, field trips, and community service trips.
Also, while at school, I am a part of an organization called Vision21, which focuses on empowering underprivileged youth currently active in Mbare, Zimbabwe. After being part of the volunteering group at
Chiedza Child Care Center and experiencing education in America, I noticed a difference and wanted a better education experience for the youths.
What is your greatest accomplishment at school thus far?
I received the Audrey Parrish White Scholarship, established in 1988 and presented to students with high academic achievements in English. This scholarship is so dear to me because coming into college, English was the most difficult class, and I had to constantly visit my professor and the writing center for help. I am also currently on the President’s list, and I was selected as a participant for the Clinton Global Initiative, which will take place in October 2018.
What do you plan to do post-graduation?
I plan to go to graduate school and pursue a Master’s degree in accounting.
How has the Grace Scholarship helped you pursue your goals?
Coming from a low-income family, the Grace Scholarship has helped me to pursue my dream and the dream my parents have always had to make sure I get the best education. Recently, there has been an increase in the tuition, and I have seen some of my friends return to their home countries due to financial problems. The feeling of appreciation always strikes me—if it was not for this scholarship, I would be also a victim.