Skip To Content Skip To Menu Skip To Footer
Coronavirus Update

Dickinson is remote for the fall. Prospective students may contact our admissions office and schedule a visit. Campus buildings are closed. Face coverings are required on campus.

Additional Information.


A Next-Level Global Education

Int students grid 700x467, Dickinson Magazine feature opener

Photos by Carl Socolow '77.

Six international students offer an inside look at their Dickinson experience.

by Marie Laverdiere ’21 

Dickinson provides students with an array of off-campus study opportunities, but for some, Carlisle is the perfect abroad experience. Each year, students from around the world choose Dickinson as the place they want to study. In fact, international students make up 13% of the student  body and hail from 32 home countries. Whether they come for the small classroom setting, the relationships with professors or the heart-of-America small community feel, these students bring global perspectives and connections to Carlisle.

Stephanie Teeuwen ’20 
Home Country: Netherlands 
Major: international studies 

What made you decide to come to Dickinson?

The main reason I decided to study in the U.S. was so that I could receive a liberal-arts education, a concept that I believe is rather unique to the U.S. More specifically, I applied to Dickinson because I liked the focus on international education and study abroad

Stephanieteeuwenvertical

How do you stay connected to your culture on campus?

I share my culture with friends through stories and food. Various multicultural organizations on campus, such as We Introduce Nations at Dickinson (WIND), are good places to share different cultures. Additionally, I often bake Dutch cookies with my roommate. 

What are the most exciting aspects of being an international student?

I love the fact that Dickinson’s campus has such an international focus. Not only is a large part of the student population international, but a lot of students also study abroad. I appreciate the diversity of cultures and views this brings to the classroom.

How has your experience met or defied your expectations?

I have been enjoying my time at Dickinson. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study in three different countries for my undergraduate degree (the U.S., Italy and India). I do not think I will ever get tired of studying, and there are many more subjects I would have wanted to study at Dickinson. However, I am also excited to graduate and put my education to work. 

What advice would you give to future international students?

Make use of all the opportunities that Dickinson has to offer and study abroad while you can!

What are your plans after graduation?

I hope to do an internship at a Dutch embassy, either in the U.S. or in a Spanish-speaking country so I can improve my Spanish. After that, I want to continue studying for my master’s degree in international studies and human rights, probably at a university in Europe.   

Bruno Kaboyi ’21 
Home Country: Rwanda 
Major: math and computer science

Brunokaboyivertical

How do you stay connected to your culture on campus?

I feel like my culture stays with me through small objects and symbols I keep on me. I have a bracelet that says “Rwanda” on it that I wear as much as I can. I try to represent where I am from whenever I have chance. If you come to  my room, the first thing you will see is the huge Rwandan flag  on my wall. 

What are the most exciting and challenging aspects of being an international student?

Being that far from people that you care for while also being in a whole new cultural environment was very nerve-wracking. I was lucky enough to be integrated into a friend group that became my support and still is to this day. Without them my experience at Dickinson would definitely have been different. On the other hand, the culture at Dickinson makes it so that I am proud of being an international student here. Being culturally unique and having lived an experience that most people cannot relate to is advantageous. It gives me a different perspective to attack obstacles and a wider variety of tools to thrive in this college environment. 

How has your experience met or defied your expectations?

My expectations of college, or even Dickinson more precisely, were shallow and mostly academic. I was expecting a challenging, while engaging, academic curriculum that pushed me to grow. However, college has been way more than that. I have made valuable connections that will last forever and involved myself in spaces that I would have never thought I could find myself. 

What advice would you give to future international students?

Do not limit yourself—try everything that you want to try while you are still in college. Question everything and anything that you deem questionable. Stay true to who you are and use this time as an opportunity for personal growth. 

What are your plans after graduation?

I hope to strengthen my resume and build my practical skills. I am planning to take a temporary break from studies while I work and enhance my financial stability. I am interested in working for a prominent organization in a major city in the United States before I continue my education in graduate school. 

Sagun Sharma ’21
Home Country: Nepal
Major: educational studies and psychology

What made you decide to come to Dickinson?

Sagunsharmavertical

I was looking for a small liberal-arts college with a diverse student body that would allow me to create deep and meaningful relationships with people from around the world. Dickinson fosters engagement inside and outside the campus community with its small class size, diverse student clubs and service-learning opportunities.

How do you stay connected to your culture on campus?

My culture is in me, so it’s in every space, every conversation, and every role I occupy. To be specific, I am the president of WIND, which is a club on campus for international and domestic students to share and experience different world cultures. This role allows me to plan and organize different cultural events on campus, including those that are specific to my home culture, like Diwali (Tihar) and Holi. I also work for the Center for Spirituality & Social Justice as a training coordinator, so I facilitate a workshop (Faith Zone) that helps the campus community understand and have conversations around worldviews, religious traditions, faith practices and meaning-making. During the workshop, I share my personal experiences and relationship with my faith and engage in interfaith dialogue to help create a more inclusive climate for people across religious and spiritual backgrounds. For me, it’s finding the balance between representing my culture but also not solely being defined by it.  

What are the most exciting and challenging aspects of being an international student?

Flying across the globe to come to Dickinson—away from everything I’ve ever known—was a difficult transition. However, I enjoy the everyday achievement of speaking, eating and socializing in a way other than my own. Being able to meet and engage with other international students is also an exciting aspect of being an international student. I’ve met so many amazing people from all around the world, some of whom have become my best friends. I think the aspect that has been the most challenging for me is finding my fit. I am a woman of color in the U.S., but I am also a woman of color from a third world country, which means that although I share the same reality, I share a different history. 

What advice would you give to future international students?

Being an international student is not a deficiency. You are strong and competent, so don’t let anyone make you think otherwise. 

Kat Pham ’21
Home Country: Vietnam
Major: quantitative economics and math

Katphamvertical

Why did you choose Dickinson?

As an international student, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit; however, I had a very specific list of things that I wanted for my college, and Dickinson fit. Those categories were location (in the Northeast), weather (not too cold, not too hot), openness toward international students (the class of 2021 has close to 100 international students! That is a record number and it really makes me feel welcome here) and the quality of education. Financial aid was another big factor. 

How do you stay connected to your culture on campus?

My culture is one of the most important parts of my identity, and I think its influence is visible in everything I do. During class discussions, whenever we talk about some culture-related topics or social issues, I try to provide background from Vietnam before I voice my opinion. I hope this helps people understand that the world looks very different from another angle. I also try to celebrate Vietnamese holidays or find opportunities to engage people in activities where I show some part of my culture or tradition. For example, I made a big dinner to celebrate the Lunar New Year in a traditional way with some Vietnamese friends and we invited some American students to the meal as well. 

What are the most exciting and challenging aspects of being an international student?

The most exciting part of my education here at Dickinson is the chance to learn new things. For instance, before coming to the U.S., I never thought that one day I would learn French, but the liberal-arts environment really encouraged me to explore more. 

The most challenging part for me is adapting to the food here. Even though I have been enjoying a lot of dishes made by Dining Services, especially the food in the KOVE, the entire philosophy of food in the United States is different from Vietnam. And as the chef in my family at home, I have not yet found a way to wrap my head around this. 

What advice would you give to future international students?

There will always be new things that will seem incomprehensible at first. I have been in the U.S. for three years, and I still don’t quite understand certain things (like fast food or chicken nuggets). But we should consider that a learning opportunity. Also you don’t have to agree with how things run in a different culture from yours. Sometimes the greatest inventions come from a mistake; maybe a great change can come from your frustration, but you must know how to control it. 

Soban Ali ’21
Home Country: Pakistan
Major: quantitative economics

Why did you choose Dickinson?

Sobanalivertical

As one of the oldest colleges in the U.S., Dickinson stood out as a great opportunity for me, particularly with its strong emphasis on sustainability and sense of community. 

What are the most challenging aspects of being an international student?

Having certain personal and social encounters that are out  of my comfort zone. However, these challenging events are also the exciting aspects of being an international student. These experiences often unfold as opportunities of personal and professional development that can be enlightening on the path of becoming a global citizen. 

What advice would you give to future international students?

Make use of the numerous resources at Dickinson from the start, and pave your paths to the top. At the same time, find ways to give back to the Dickinson community and the world beyond. 

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to work with a tech multinational in Europe or Australia.  

Guoxuan (Allan) Chi ’20
Home Country: China
Major: computer science and psychology 

Allanchivertical

How do you stay connected to your culture on campus?

I never intentionally tried to emphasize my cultural background, but I feel obligated to expose it when people are talking about politics. When others offer a Western interpretation of what’s happening in my home country, I can’t help but offer insights as a student who spent the first 18 years of his life in China. I learned that disagreements do not impede me from making friends or force me to comply. The philosophy of tolerance might be what I brought from my culture. 

What are the most exciting and challenging aspects of being an international student?

Initially, the language barrier was a big challenge. My First-Year Seminar was about war and memory in East Asia, which supposedly was something I was familiar with. However, writing college-level essays in English was not as easy as I imagined. I am very proud of myself. 

What advice would you give to future international students?

Sometimes not knowing exactly what you are going into is not a bad thing. When there is no clear expectation, you might be surprised what life can bring you. It’s OK to be afraid of doing a lot of things, but don’t avoid them. We grow up the fastest outside of our comfort zone. 

What are your plans after graduation?

I don’t have a solid plan right after graduation yet, but I want to be a full-time user experience researcher working on the connection between human beings and technologies. I’m preparing for graduate school (master’s or Ph.D.) while exploring opportunities in the industry. 

We asked these six students to bring an object to their photo shoot that has a connection to their home country. Those objects ranged from flags and photographs to a handcrafted lantern and a giant stuffed panda bear. Each object held meaning and memories for the student, and some are visible in the preceding photographs. We thank these students for sharing their stories with us!

Read an additional Q&A with Nhi Ly ’22 (women's, gender & sexuality studies and Chinese; Vietnam).

Read more from the winter 2020 issue of Dickinson Magazine.

TAKE THE NEXT STEPS

Published February 20, 2020