On Wednesday afternoon, a group of incoming HWS students from around the world gathered for a very American tradition: a barbecue and picnic. Despite hours spent on flights arriving from places such as Turkey, Switzerland, Pakistan and Kenya, the students talked excitedly about the upcoming first year orientation and their classes.
Just as with any entering class, each member of this year’s group of international students has found a different connection with the Colleges. Louise Baxter ’14 and Courtney Notte ’14 from Perth, Australia were impressed with the class selection. “Hobart and William Smith offered the best courses by far,” says Baxter.
“We’ll also get the chance to study American literature, which we didn’t have the opportunity to do in Australia,” adds Notte.
Baxter looks forward to exploring various career paths. “There are opportunities for internships at the Colleges that aren’t available anywhere else,” she explains. “And the staff is eager to help find the right one for you.”
Excitement seemed contagious, as other students eagerly shared their own reasons for choosing to study in Geneva. “I am exhausted,” says a smiling Yifei “Aaron” Pei ’14, of China. “It was a very long trip, but worth it.” Pei is already amazed by his few short days in the country. “Everyone is always asking if I need any help. There are so many nice people here!”
Pei, like Baxter, was impressed with the coursework offered. “The classes and seminars here take a very critical look at their material.”
Kim Bellier ’14, of France, is anxious for classes to begin. “I can’t wait for my first year seminar! It’s called Knowing Bodies, and I get to dance. How amazing does that sound?”
However, it was not dance that drew Bellier to HWS. “I wanted to go to a place where professors could get to know you; a place where I could form a relationship with them,” explains Bellier, who already has plans to take part in Koshare and intramural volleyball.
Other students voiced similar thoughts, eager to take advantage of the 11:1 student to faculty ratio. “Classes in many universities in both the United States and my home country of China have more than 200 students in them,” says Gaunqun Li ’14. “That’s 200 students too many!”
Ramsha Rehman ’14, of Pakistan, echoes the sentiments of her classmates. “I really wanted to go to a liberal arts college, and when I found Hobart and William Smith, I liked that the classes were so small that I wouldn’t be a number.”
Can Güneri ’14, a member of a premier Turkish rowing team, was attracted to Hobart’s rowing team. “It was important for me that I go someplace I could row,” explains Güneri. “It made me excited to know I would be part of that team. This is just a great place to be!”