Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Admission

Admission

Christopher

Country
Arese, Italy

Major/Minor
International Relations/Dance

Activities on campus
Service & Volunteerism
Voices United to Jam (Gospel & R&B group), Trybe (student-run multicultural dance group)

Why Wheaton?
When I visited Boston I loved it, probably because it has a very European feel to it, so I started focusing on small liberal arts colleges in the surrounding area. Wheaton fit my criteria perfectly. Also, the location near Boston and Providence attracted me a lot since I grew up in the countryside while still being close to cities. However, what distinguished it was the number of extraordinary achievements among the students and alumni, such as prestigious scholarships (i.e. Fulbright, Rhodes, etc.).

Adjusting to Wheaton
The biggest impact of coming to America and to Wheaton was that it opened me up to a multitude of perspectives I had never known. As a result, I entered a process of profound personal redefinition and reevaluation during my first year. Support from the Wheaton staff was fundamental for me. My professors were quite understanding and helpful, but the biggest help came from the Deans in Academic Advising. They listened and understood my need to focus on my personal life, and went out of their way to help me stay afloat academically while advising me on my personal challenges. It was the multitude of talented, intelligent, and unbelievably multifaceted students, faculty and staff at Wheaton that enabled me to explore many new perspectives and life-styles. I owe a lot to these people for giving me the inspiration and the tools to become the person I wanted to be.

Who is your favorite professor?
Two of my classes, 'Political Theory' with Prof. Shomali, and 'Indigenous Movements in Latin America' with Prof. Torres deeply affected me. They explored their respective topics as a means of contemplating many aspects of life. There are many professors whose passion and charisma make their topic interesting. Fewer, however, do so while connecting their topics to our personal world, like Prof. Shomali and Prof. Torres do. With them, my classmates and I discussed and contemplated topics like: How can a sound opinion be formed? What is proof and how can it be utilized? How does our personal identity impact society? How does human interconnection affect us and how do we affect it? It was great for us to complete the course not simply with a better understanding of the subject, but of ourselves.

Wheaton academics
I felt well-prepared for the level and type of education provided at Wheaton thanks to the talented teachers and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program offered at my high school. However, I have been challenged in many more and different ways at Wheaton since I am now receiving a 'higher education.'

What I truly enjoy about Wheaton is opportunity to pursue learning outside of the classroom. There are so many ways students can participate in and shape activities that offer them experience related to classroom study. Between different ways to shape your academic life (create your own major, course connections, independent study/research, etc.), your extracurricular life (sports, student-run groups/clubs of ALL types, etc.), and your life outside of Wheaton (scholarships/grants, internship/work, etc.), there is really no end to the opportunities you can explore.

Friends and fun
Coming from a largely homogenous country, it was amazing to witness the diversity in the United States and at Wheaton. Wheaton holds a wealth of diversity in terms of personality-types which exposed me to new ways of thinking and seeing the world. I've shared my passions (singing, dancing, etc.) with many people while getting involved in new activities. All of this was possible thanks to the influence of the people I've met here.

What do you think is important for prospective international students to know about Wheaton?
This is a broad question so I will limit myself to one thing: Wheaton is a bubble. This has many implications, both positive and negative, depending on your perspective. On the positive side, you get very cozy here. Wheaton is a community that grows on you. The bubble effect means you will be cushioned against the blows that would be felt more harshly at a bigger university, where an individual might get less attention and have less access to faculty and staff. On the negative side, I have sometimes found that the bubble effect cushioned some realities a little too much and, therefore, gave me illusions about how hard a challenge might be in the real world.

These are issues you will find in all universities to some degree, which is why I want to close with something I hope you will find helpful. If at all possible, visit the universities you are interested in. If you can tour the campus, spend a night and/or attend a class, do it! If you can't visit, do as much as possible to get a feel for what it's like by communicating with current students, faculty and staff. Brochures and websites simply cannot tell you everything about the environment and 'feel' of a place, so do as much research as possible to find the right place for you.

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