Unlike many international students, I have lived in the United States prior to college. I attended elementary and middle school in California, then returned to South Korea for high school. Because of my bicultural background, I have always valued and embraced diversity and intercultural experiences. I never thought that coming to St. Lawrence would enhance this even more.
Some may think coming to a small liberal arts school in the rural town of Canton, New York, means isolation from the rest of the world. However, my SLU experience has proven this to be untrue. Right off the bat, I was able to meet friends from around the world when I stepped onto campus my first year during International Orientation. This took place a week before the other first-year students' arrival to help international students acclimate to American college culture. During this week, we met administrators on campus, played icebreaker games, and had informational meetings on a variety of topics (i.e. visas, bank accounts, etc.). I met some of my closest friends, including my roommate from Nicaragua, during this first week of Orientation.
Along with the international friends I’ve met at SLU, I was able to broaden my horizons by participating in two of St. Lawrence’s off-campus programs. Last fall, I traveled to London where I went to two theatre shows per week, attended the official Brexit debate, lived with a British host family, and interned at a consulting firm in the heart of the city. Additionally, I was able to travel to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Germany, Italy, and France through class trip components and other weekend trips. Then, last spring, I spent the semester in New York City taking business classes, visiting historic sites, and interning full-time at American Express. Studying in these two cosmopolitan cities allowed me to develop a deeper understanding of our globalizing world while simultaneously pursuing my academic endeavors.
On top of these experiences, being in the North Country has its benefits. I have been able to immerse myself in a whole new culture just two hours away in the province of Quebec, Canada. During one Mid-Semester Break, my three friends and I spent our long weekend exploring the newer parts of the city, visiting the Old Latin quarters, and trying Canadian delicacies (mostly poutine). Traveling to Montreal for frequent weekend getaways has enabled me to freely interact with French-Canadian culture and further expand my worldview.
From International Orientation and friends from around the world, to off-campus programs and Canadian adventures, St. Lawrence has given me a great deal of opportunities to have a global college experience both on and off campus. Students at SLU have many ways to reach beyond our little community and widen our perspectives of the world over these four glorious years.