Paris, Amsterdam and Vienna
Activities on campus
Preceptor, president of Wheaton Christian Fellowship, co-founder of International Justice Mission, The Wheaton Wire, The Blend (cappella group), tour guide
When I applied to Wheaton I was looking for a small school that allowed for close relationships with professors and peers and offered rich resources to its students. At Wheaton, I found not only small class sizes and that intimate environment I was searching for, but I encountered friendly faces, challenging educational standards and invaluable resources waiting to be dipped into.
Adjusting to Wheaton
Being an international student, adjusting to college life and America simultaneously was rather difficult. The transition into Wheaton was certainly remedied by the warm and welcoming faces on campus. When I first moved into Wheaton, a girl I did not even know offered to help me unpack and organize my room. That's the thing about Wheaton-everyone is so friendly and willing to help, and I am not sure I would find that in a larger school.
Attending the pre-orientation international student program was one of the best decisions I could have made entering the Wheaton community. It immediately introduced me to students with similar backgrounds who I could relate to and share my struggles with. Some of those students are still my close friends to this day.
Who is your favorite professor?
I entered Wheaton with IB credit and was able to bypass English 101, enabling me to dive right into more advanced English classes. I decided to take a class dedicated to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, having always been a fan of The Lord of the Rings. The first day of class, Professor Drout entered the classroom and marched up the center aisle exclaiming the first paragraph of Beowulf in Old English. I will never forget that moment and how he seamlessly launched into his first lecture about Anglo-Saxon Literature and how Tolkien's ideas were born out of those legends. I loved that class and the fact that I could study fantasy literature in a whole new, academic light. Though it was one of Wheaton≠s larger classes, I still felt comfortable speaking out and sharing my ideas as well as gaining insights from my fellow students.
Thus far I have found the academics at Wheaton very challenging. Coming out of the IB program, I heard tales of students entering American universities at the junior level and graduating in two years. This is not the case at Wheaton. The IB certainly helped develop my time management skills and writing skills, but I am not coasting through my classes waiting to be challenged.
Wheaton's curriculum is unique in its Connections Program, encouraging students to view subject matter from multiple academic disciplines. In high school, I was already forming connections in my IB Text and Performance class where we analyzed literature and then performed it. It has been wonderful to carry on this notion of making unlikely and surprising connections in my work. This past semester I took an American Colonial History class and an American Literature class and was able to learn about America's history while reading how it was expressed through literature by those who lived it. I love forming these connections and am glad Wheaton provides an arena that fosters these connections.
Friends and fun
As I mentioned earlier, I immediately connected with fellow international students, but through extracurricular activities I found other friends from all over the country. I love going to Providence with my friends. My brother is a Rhode Island School of Design (Providence) graduate and he helped me navigate the city initially, and now my friends and I will take the commuter rail in for a day to grab lunch at a creperie or coffee on Thayer Street. There are jazz clubs, poetry slams, art shows and WaterFire-a local festival that celebrates the arts and lights up the city with baskets of fire on the river. There is so much to do in Providence, and I am looking forward to exploring Boston next year.
The friends I have made at Wheaton are fascinating people. It seems that once you scratch beneath the surface with anyone here, there is much to be found. I have friends who have spent their summers in Uganda helping local youth programs, friends who are poets, painters and performers. Everyone at Wheaton is into pushing boundaries and taking risks. I love that about my friends here.
What do you think is important for prospective international students to know about Wheaton?
Experiencing Wheaton as an International student can be a great thing. There is a solid group of international students on campus who band together through groups like the International Student Association, German Club and French Club to bring elements of diversity to campus and educate peers on their home countries. We have food festivals, international film festivals and celebrate native holidays with each other. Wheaton is not an American bubble, but embraces international cultures. Every Wheaton student I have encountered has wanted to know so much about my story-the places I have lived and visited and the cultures I have experienced. Your international story will not be forgotten, but rather it will truly be embraced and encouraged to flourish here at Wheaton.