The beauty of the Colleges — “a small, picturesque campus on a lake” — is often what resonates most immediately for international students, says Amy Teel, programs operations manager for the HWS Center for Global Education. But it’s the small classes, personal attention from faculty and educational opportunities, she says, that convince prospective exchange students that HWS is the ideal place to spend a year abroad.
Joy Ephrath Kern, who came to HWS from the University of Tuebingen in Germany, agrees. “The classes that are offered here are exactly the kind that I am looking for,” says Kern, who is pursuing interdisciplinary American studies with a focus on American law.
For Bohyun Lee, an economics major, the Colleges’ atmosphere is a welcome change from her home institution, Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and its more than 26,000 undergraduate students and nearly 5,000 faculty members.
“I picked HWS because it has a different educational environment than my home university. Here we have small classes and I can also take arts and humanities courses,” says Lee, who hopes to improve her English language skills and explore the economics of the U.S.
“I love that HWS is relatively small and you see a lot of people you know around the place,” says Michaela Gall, from Australia’s Curtin University, which is the largest university in Western Australia, enrolling nearly 60,000 students.
Teel notes that the size and culture of HWS offer ideal avenues “to engage in a community that [international students] may not have at their home institutions,” adding that such opportunities provide “a great way to meet American students.”
“At most universities overseas, you study one curriculum, so if you’re an English major, you do nothing but English,” she says. “Many of our international students have outside interests, however, and here they can register for classes in music or art or geoscience.”
And international students are embracing these opportunities. Gall, an English, and writing and rhetoric major who is interning with the Finger Lakes Times newspaper in Geneva, has been impressed with “how accessible HWS is, and how much is offered both within classes and as extracurricular activities.”
Maximilian Mitschke, from the University of Leipzig in Germany, is an American Studies major, but is also taking classes in political science, environmental literature and Latin American studies.
When he was planning to study abroad, Mitschke “did research on all the colleges available,” and because of the liberal arts mission and the breadth of subjects to explore, “HWS came out as the best choice.”