Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The International Student Experience at Trinity

Suzanne Carpe ’22

Contributing Writer

Trinity College is currently the home of a very diverse international community, with 272 students that come from places all over the world. In this semester, 74 different nations are represented, which comprises all continents except for Antarctica. Just taking a trip to Mather Hall is enough to realize how rich our college is, not only geographically, but also culturally.

International students bring more than simple statistics and representation to Trinity: they come with a wide amalgamation of ideas and traditions that are such an incredible opportunity to learn about other countries through first-hand experience. As International Student Advisor Katie Clair stated, what the college has achieved by carefully admitting students from so many countries is “bringing the world to Harford, CT” and to Trinity as well. She also stated that maintaining such a diverse breadth of perspectives and ways of thinking “is vital to the liberal arts.” Being around such a culturally rich environment is great for understanding different festivities and traditions and their meaning, and feeling transported to other parts of the world by simply attending festivals and celebrations in the Main Quad or the Washington Room.

For international students, this is undoubtedly true as well. Being in a different country, -maybe even a different continent-is an equally enriching experience. For some, it is the opportunity not only to grasp and enjoy this new way of life, but also to express their national identities with fervor and pride. In a conversation about different aspects of their culture, some international students have showcased thoughts regarding their individual nations and shed light on how culturally rich our campus is.

Vidhi Vasa ’22 expressed that the aspect she appreciates most about her native Indian culture is “vibrance and warmth.”

Aashwin Basnet ’19 of Nepal has expressed that the aspect he appreciates the most about his culture is that it “respects people irrespective of their differences.” He added that he is also very grateful for having the opportunity to have “very close ties with relatives and neighbors,” and “to consider everyone in the society as brothers and sisters.”

About her native Belarus, Dasha Maliauskaya ’22 expressed that people are “patient, hospitable, and persistent” and that she has been able to express her culture through the Festival of All Nations. Similarly, Simran Sheth ‘19, also from India, added she has been able to express her culture “through the International House that holds events like Diwali and Holi.”

Margarita Vergara ’19 talked about how diverse her Panamanian culture is–a mixture of Afro-Caribbean, European, and American culture. She also added that Panamanians feel a great sense of pride for their country “everywhere they go,” and that although her country has suffered from some problems in recent years, they “have never abandoned their cheerful spirit.”

Indian native Aadiv Sheth ’22 stated during this conversation that he would like people to know that “when someone says Indian, there is no one kind of Indian that should come to mind. India is a vastly diverse country, and has a multitude of cultures, which leads to many different kinds of Indians.” Similarly, Argentinian Federico Cedolini ’22 stated that although he describes all people in his country as “welcoming and warm,” he would like people to know and celebrate “how different and contrasting the cultures in Latin America are.”

Malaysian Zi Jin Tan ’22 described her country as a “melting pot of culture” with “bomb ass food,” and that she greatly appreciates their “diversity, passion for food and the many languages we can speak.” Rocío Fernández ’22, from Guatemala, described her country as “warmth, colors and chaos.” Nepali Digesh Chitrakar ‘22 talked about how he values “the food, the togetherness,” how family is such an important part of her culture, and how he has several strong ties and friendships that “will last forever.” Ange Pierrete Umwaliwase ’22, from Rwanda, stated that her people “have some social customs, such as greeting everyone in the morning, respecting older people, celebrate Rwandan special events with families.”

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