Who are They?
Zijie (Frank) Wan is a sophomore at Castleton University from China. He is a Business Management major and Statistics minor. Frank first came to Castleton in 2016 and has been there for two years thus far.
Emilie Courrieu is a junior at Castleton from France and majors in American Literature. Emilie is participating in a one year exchange program at Castleton.
Chidinma Ezugwu is also a junior from Nigeria. Chidinma is studying Mathematics and is completing her Bachelors at Castleton.
Emilie Courrieu (left) Zijie Wan (middle) & Chiding Ezugwu (right).
What have been some of your favorite courses you have taken at Castleton thus far?
Frank mentioned three classes he has taken thus far at Castleton that were challenging but also the most beneficial to his learning. One was Effective Speaking where Frank was able to improve his English and get more comfortable public speaking. Principles of Marketing was another course Frank learned a lot from. Frank also participated in Castleton’s Campus Conversation Partner Program where he received a partner and every week they spent an hour talking about their “cultures, personal life and fun stuff.” They were able to develop a friendship and learn a lot about each other in the process.
Chidinma was eager to answer that her favorite class was Linear Algebra because her professor was so great. “You can really tell the teachers love math, which is important.” They are always available to help if needed and passionate about what they are teaching.
Emilie’s favorite course has been her American poetry course as it was very interactive and really solidified for her that American Literature was what she wanted to study.
If you had to describe Castleton in 5 words or less, what would they be?
When Frank was asked this question he responded with saying, “Small University With Big Heart. That is also the sentence that president Dave Wolk used to say. I have my ‘American Family’ here at Castleton.” Frank went on to tell a story about a professor he had at Castleton named Bill. “In October 2016, he accepted me as one of his family members.” For every American holiday, Bill invites Frank to his house to celebrate. Last year he spent winter break at Bill’s house along with his family. “They always take me to watch the Spartans hockey game and explain the rules to me. In my scholarship recommendation letter, Bill said he regards me as his own son. I was so moved and I am so thankful that I met Bill and his wife in the United States.” Frank’s story is the perfect example of how much Castleton cares for their students.
Chidinma and Emilie both looked at each other with big smiles after asked this question and said FRIENDLY. Chidinma went on to say that anyone on campus is not afraid to say hello even if you do not know their name. They also have a saying called, “the Castleton way” and it is a policy where you always open the door for the person behind you. It is important at Castleton that everyone supports each other and creates a sense of community for all of those who are around them.
Chidinma and Emilie went on to say how nice everyone they have met has been and how the warm hellos they get on campus can really turn a bad day around. Being away from family is tough so it is important to have people around to support you and be there when you need someone to talk too. Castleton has done a great job with that and has become a second home for Emilie and Chidinma. The family-feel helps diminish the loneliness they can sometimes get when away from home.
Another really cool element to Castleton is that on particular international holidays the cafeteria will cook food from that country. For instance, for Chinese New Year, the dining hall cooked many traditional Chinese dishes for students to try and enjoy.
Does Castleton University have an International Services or Study Abroad space students can go to?
All three students responded yes to this question. Castleton has an International Student Office (ISO) where Debbie, “the mom of international services” as Chidinma and Emilie call her, works. The ISO is a space where international students can go for any help they may need. Castleton also offers peer mentors, current students who can help new students get accustomed to college life at Castleton, both in the Fall and Spring., . It is a way for new students to feel comfortable and welcomed. They also have a class called the iSeminar where international students get together every week to discuss their different cultures, cook traditional food from their homes, and ask “strange questions” about Castleton culture. Debbie will also organize weekend activities to do together around Vermont such as ice skating or snow tubing in the mountains. The ISO is really dedicated to making everyone feel at home. As Frank stated, “I am so glad I chose this school because I am living here happily every day as a student, also as a Community Advisor or Resident Assistant, which is my first actual job here. Now I can proudly say I have another home here at Castleton.”
Castleton also has a study abroad office that puts on a fair each semester where international students run tables representing all of the different countries students can study at. Emilie helped run the table for the school she goes to in France and was there to answer any question students had.. It is a great way for peers to connect and see the global opportunities Castleton has to offer.
Castleton University is a friendly, welcoming, inclusive home to all of its students and a wonderful place to receive your education.
Virtual Tour of Castleton University: http://www.castleton.edu/admissions/visit/