A Letter to Admitted International Students

First of all, congratulations on your achievement! Your most exciting days are just about to begin! I can very well remember how I felt a year ago when I was sitting in front of my table with my offers spread out.

A year later, I know that I have made the right choice, one of the best choices in life. I hope to share this experience with you, from the coolest college on earth.

A bit about myself: I’m Zilong from China. I study politics and economics. I play flute and do workshops on Confucius for other Hampshire students.

Yes, at Hampshire, all bathrooms are co-ed, laundry is free and we have no tests, but that’s not the reason I come here. I choose Hampshire College for its freedom, its endless energy and creativity. At other places, people tell you that the students there are passionate about what they are doing. At Hampshire, people are CRAZY about what they love! This applies not only to students, but also to all professors as well as the old lady in the dining hall who has been swiping cards there for four decades.

In our dictionary, there are no words like “embarrassing”, “difficult” or “impossible”. We don’t grow up with them. Instead, our vocabulary is filled with phrases like “why”, “why not”, “what else”, “can we do it another way” and so on. In our discussions, there are more questions than answers. After every class and brainstorm, we don’t feel that we know more, we feel that we know less. If these characters describe you, then you are so lucky to have found the right place.

We love Hampshire’s academics structure because it has actually no structure. You design your own concentration, and you go out and find the best professors from Hampshire, from the other members in the Five College Consortium and beyond. The school is here to assist you, guide you, finance you and cheer and cry for you.

As an international student, I feel very comfortable---even privileged----at Hampshire. We have a lovely Cultural Center, a safe space (with best food) for all multicultural students. We have the loveliest staffs that turn us into a big family. Every international student can have a host family to help you in your life as a foreigner in a foreign land. My host family bought me so much tasty instant noodles that I am still eating them now. You will have a peer mentor to guide you through all the Hampshire-related and non-academic issues, like who’s the coolest professor and where’s the best pizza etc. You will have access to tons of extra information and help from different offices in the school. Obviously, they love us.

Let me be very honest: Hampshire is a very young institution, and we have a tiny endowment. Like all institutions, we are facing many issues and problems. But that’s another reason I love this place so much. Other schools are like finished buildings. You are just one more guest. But Hampshire is a huge open ground, with bricks and materials laying everywhere. You are the architect, you are the magician. It is extremely easy for any individual to leave his/her mark here because everything just started!

If this sounds like what you have been looking for deep in your heart, then I hope to see you this fall!

1 comment:

Ella said...

Zilong, this is so great.