CEDAR CITY, Utah – International students bring unique experiences with them when they attend college in the U.S., but one Southern Utah University freshman also brought two Guinness World records.
Nineteen-year-old Ngim Chhamji Sherpa holds the record for youngest female to scale Mount Everest from the south side. She climbed the mountain when she was 16 with her father, also making her part of the first father/daughter team to climb the mountain as well.
“It’s like your dream coming true,” Sherpa said. “I never thought that I would ever hold a Guinness World Record.”
Sherpa said the climb is a defining moment for her, and represents overcoming physical and mental limitations in her life.
“People did not quite want me to go to Everest,” Sherpa said. “They thought I was a really young age. I wanted to prove myself in front of those people, and I did prove that.”
Sherpa is sharing her experience with her classmates at SUU. She is one of 36 international students from Nepal, part of a growing international student population.
“There’s an opportunity to share cultures,” said SUU associate provost of international students Steve Allen. “So we bring an international experience to many of our domestic students, who may not otherwise be able to have that type of experience.”
In the past 10 years the number of international students has grown from 40 to 500. Allen said the university targeted Nepal specifically for students because of the citizens’ drive to succeed.
SUU provost Brad Cook said the experiences those international students bring inspiration to the entire community.
“The world is a huge place,” Cook said. “But they can find that kind of accomplishment themselves.”
Sherpa will be sharing her experiences with the student body as part of an outdoor education lecture series later this week. She said she hopes students can learn from her experience that they can always achieve their goals.