Wesleyan has developed a community enriched by the presence of students from many countries. Here are some of their stories:
Ellen Paik '16 comes to Wesleyan from Seoul, South Korea. A member of the varsity crew team and the WSA - the Wesleyan Student Assembly - Ellen says Wesleyan lets her explore the full range of her many passions.More...
Far From Home
What's it like being an international student at Wesleyan? Find out in this Wesleyan magazine story.
Zhicheng Jared Wang ’15
After attending a large public high school in Hangzhou, China, Zhicheng Jared Wang was looking to study in a smaller, more personal environment for university.More...
Zhicheng Jared Wang ’15
After attending a large public high school in Hangzhou, China, Zhicheng Jared Wang ’15 was looking to study in a smaller, more personal environment for university.
“Here at Wesleyan, the professors are all very knowledgeable, and I can approach them more easily,” he says. “If I had gone to a Chinese university, I wouldn’t have had the same amount of personal contact with the professors.” Though he was initially nervous to speak up in class, Jared says, “After I came here, I realized the amount you learn also depends on how actively engaged in class you are.”
Jared had planned to study economics and mathematics, but found himself passionate about art history, thanks to a few special classes that captured his imagination freshman year.
Jared also surprised himself by running for the Wesleyan Student Assembly his first semester. Though it was intimidating to go door-to-door campaigning, he stuck with it and was elected as one of nine freshmen representatives. “It was a very empowering experience,” he says.
Jared is currently an RA in the Butterfield Colleges, and a campus ambassador with Teach for China, a nonprofit organization that works toward bridging the educational gap between rural and urban Chinese students.
His advice to prospective students: “Academics definitely come first if you decide to come to Wesleyan. Read as much and as broadly as possible. The more you know, the more likely you will be able to participate in classes. The more you give in, the more you will get out of this educational experience.”
Gideon Too ’14
“In Kenya, when you’re admitted to a university, you’re admitted into a specific course of study and that’s what you’re going to do for four or five years. At Wesleyan, I enjoyed the freedom to explore different academic areas,” says Gideon Too of Eldoret, Kenya.More...
Gideon Too ’14
“When I came here, I didn’t necessarily have an idea of what I wanted to do. I had some interests, but I didn’t really have a concrete plan,” says Gideon Too ’14 of Eldoret, Kenya. “In Kenya, when you’re admitted to a university, you’re admitted into a specific course of study and that’s what you’re going to do for four or five years. At Wesleyan, I enjoyed the freedom to explore different academic areas.”
Moreover he says, the student-teacher relationship is completely different at Wesleyan. “Here, the professors really enjoy getting to know students.”
Gideon is captain of the Rugby Team, treasurer of the African Students Association, a Resident Advisor in Bennet Hall, a member of the International Students- Student Advisory Group, and a Teaching Assistant in the Economics Department.
He has been pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the Wesleyan student body. “I have friends from Zimbabwe, from South Korea, from all over the U.S. We’re all from different parts of the world, but I think the differences are minimized at Wesleyan. Sometimes you forget that this person is from a different part of the world. That’s something I really appreciate about Wesleyan.”
“Wesleyan is a place where you will be challenged in a lot of ways, but at the same time, you’ll find a support system—from friends, teachers and non-teaching staff—that will help you get through it,” says Gideon.
Seo In (Claire) Choi ’13
Art history major Seo In (Claire) Choi of Seoul, South Korea, is interested in how socio-economic and cultural circumstances have shaped artwork.More...
Seo In (Claire) Choi ’13
Seoul, South Korea
Art history major Seo In (Claire) Choi '13 of Seoul, South Korea, is interested in how socio-economic and cultural circumstances have shaped artwork. In addition to art studio classes, Choi has explored many different disciplines during her four years at Wesleyan, taking classes in philosophy, French and German, and from the College of Letters.
Claire is a Freeman Scholar and member of the Freeman Asian Scholar Association. "Freeman Asian Scholars are a very unique and warm-hearted group of students, and we have many great memories together. It is such a welcoming community that I am proud to be part of it," she says.
During her freshman and sophomore years, Claire interned for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, led by president Sam Miller ’75, and helped manage the day-to-day activities of an artist studio program and local- and state-funded grant programs. She also volunteered for an annual N.Y.C. performance art festival, Art In Odd Places, where she used her skills and knowledge about social media to help the festival establish an active web presence. During the same summer, she interned at boutique ad agencies in New York. In 2012, she co-founded PYXIS, a new student-run humanities journal that aims to share and celebrate student academic writing in the humanities at Wesleyan.
After Wesleyan, Claire plans to work in the branding and strategy side of digital advertising or/and Internet industries, and keep involved with the art world.
Nandita Vijayaraghanvan ’13
Government and East Asian Studies double major Nandita Vijayaraghanvan, of Chennai, India, says some of her best experiences in Wesleyan classes have helped her to “really push the envelope.”More...
Chazelle Rhoden ’15
Though Chazelle Rhoden, of Port Antonio, Jamaica, arrived at Wesleyan with diverse academic interests, she came to realize that her passion was to work in development “helping my country and my people.”More...
Chazelle Rhoden ’15
Port Antonio, Jamaica
Though Chazelle Rhoden ’15, of Port Antonio, Jamaica, arrived at Wesleyan with diverse academic interests, she came to realize that her passion was to work in development “helping my country and my people.” She declared a major in government, and counts Professor Giulio Gallarotti’s International Politics Class as among the most influential she has taken.
“It was great to sit around a table with only 12 students and just talk about your ideas,” she says. Professor Gallarotti is now her advisor. “I can always go talk to him. He supports me so much, but he also challenges me—that’s important.”
“Being a student at Wesleyan, you’re free to think the way you want to think, and you’re challenged in a positive way. I feel like everybody here embraces that. That’s what makes you a Wesleyan student—that you want to engage in dialogue and connect to people in that way,” she says.
After graduating, Rhoden plans to study development—possibly in Europe—and ultimately to work in government or for a nonprofit in Jamaica helping to develop her home country.
Yusaku Takeda ’14
Since arriving at Wesleyan, Yusaku Takeda, of Hokkaido, Japan, has known that he wanted to pursue a career in agriculture and food policy, but he wasn’t quite sure what academic path he would take to get there.More...
Yusaku Takeda ’14
Since arriving at Wesleyan, Yusaku Takeda ’14, of Hokkaido, Japan, has known that he wanted to pursue a career in agriculture and food policy, but he wasn’t quite sure what academic path he would take to get there. He was strong in biology, but also interested in social sciences, like economics.
“After talking to many different friends and professors, I realized that agriculture was a very complicated issue,” he says. He came to believe that the best preparation for a career in agricultural policy would involve study in many different fields. Thus, he chose to declare a College of Social Studies (CSS) major, a multidisciplinary major combining history, government, political and social theory, and economics.
“CSS is a major where you learn different social science disciplines at the same time. It trains you how to read and write, which was very appealing to me,” says Yusaku. “I thought it would be good preparation for my future career.”
Of his social life at Wesleyan, Yusaku says, “I appreciate that there’s strong solidarity among international students, but at the same time, the group is very inclusive. You know you’re part of the international student body, but you still hang out and live with American students too.”
Huyen Le ’14
Among her fellow Freeman Asian Scholars, Huyen Le ’14 of Hanoi has found talented and accomplished students and a caring community of friends--people who are interesting enough to stay up with until 4 in the morning, talking about school, movies and life.More...
Huyen Le ’14
Seeking a broader, more flexible education than traditional Vietnamese universities offered, Huyen Le ’14 of Hanoi decided to attend university in the United States. At a friend’s suggestion, she applied to Wesleyan’s Freeman Asian Scholars Program, which funds four years of undergraduate education for exceptional students from 11 Asian countries and regions, and was accepted.
Among the Freeman Asian Scholars, Huyen has found talented and accomplished students and a caring community of friends—people who are interesting enough to stay up with until 4 in the morning, talking about school, movies and life, she says. Being far away from home, Huyen says she’s grateful to have friends who bring her food when she’s having a tough day, throw her a surprise birthday party, and invite her to their homes for holidays. An economics and government double major, Huyen has found her professors to be “really, really, really supportive,” she says. Her academic advisors invite her to stop by and chat about her course selections, plans for the summer, or job opportunities.
In her high school in Vietnam, Huyen says students were discouraged from speaking up or disagreeing with the teacher. At Wesleyan, she has learned that it’s okay to disagree, Huyen says. “As long as you can offer a logical argument and you don’t violate any ethical principles, then it’s fine,” she says. “It’s important because it helps develop your intellectual maturity.
After graduating, Huyen plans to gain a few years of work experience in industry before pursuing a PhD in public policy.
Phoebe Stonebraker '11
Phoebe Stonebraked traveled to CEIBA Biological Research Station and Dubulay Ranch in Guyana, South America, as part of her studies in BIOL 306: Tropical Ecology and the Environment course.More...
Opraha Miles '14
Opraha Miles, a Jamaica native, is a neuroscience and behavior major who sings, dances in the ISIS women of color dance troupe, and is a member of the West Indian Student Association.More...
Carmen Yip '12
Carmen Yip of Hong Kong majored in German studies and sociology, and completed a Certificate in International Relations. To stay in shape, she practiced yoga in the cemetary.More...
Oscar Takabvirwa '14
"I love numbers, and I think they like me back," says Oscar Takabvirwa '14, who came to Wesleyan from Zimbabwe and majors in mathematics and German studies.More...