How Trinity Can Accommodate for International Students

Jemma Wenju Yang ’24

Contributing Writer

Campus life at Trinity has positive and negative sides. One positive is the diversity and the small classes. Some areas where Trinity College can improve are the gym, Mather Hall, and the dormitories. Most importantly, I hope the school can give more support for international students in life.

In August 2021, I left China for the 12,714-kilometer adventure alone, feeling both excited and anxious about starting a totally new life. After arriving on campus, I was attracted to the buildings: both the church and the long-walk tower.

However, the excitement did not last long. I was overwhelmed in the first few days, even though I thought I was tough. I came to campus earlier, before classes started, so there were few people on campus. Since I did not know anyone or any places here, I was walking around campus alone and confused, carrying heavy packages, wondering where and how to check in.

There was no sign to direct students the right way. After checking in, getting basic things from the supermarket, and settling down by myself, I finally went to sleep after a long trip and lonely exploration.

Trinity should provide some signs for direction and volunteers to help all the new international students and first-years. Having some snacks, necessities like bedsheets or comforters, and tips about traffic, shopping, restaurants, and class buildings would also be very helpful.

As for the dorms, I could barely find much useful information from the school website about their amenities—only an abstract picture of the dorm’s structure. Many international students have never visited the campus before. We also have different dorms in our countries.

It would be helpful for the transition process to give more information, such as facilities in the dorm, real photographs of the rooms, and student reviews. Some dorms either have no air conditioning or have extremely hot radiators, making them hot in the summer and winter—information I would have liked to know before arriving on campus.

As for sports, I have to say that I feel it is hard to join in on some sports activities here if you are not a professional athlete. The reason may be a cultural difference; the US emphasizes the importance of sports, so most students engaged in the sports have participated in them for a long time. By contrast, it is not the same in other countries. The College should provide more opportunities for students who want to learn how to play sports such as tennis, soccer, and baseball.

Finally, Mather Hall: Trinity says it is an international college, but I barely feel that in our cafeteria, which only provides classic American food such as salad, pizza, and sandwiches. As a college with so many international students, I hope Trinity can try some different menus for us. This would be very nice for homesick students. Many international students I know, including me, cook for ourselves or order food.

Still, I enjoy being at Trinity. In the first week of the new semester, I was nervous to socialize with local students face-to-face or answer questions in class, especially as an introverted person. But thanks to small classes and the encouragement of diversity, I gradually started to enjoy my classes, which enabled me to build closer connections with my classmates and professors. As professors usually ask students to discuss and work in small groups, I could talk with various people and make friends.

This is also where I found diversity in Trinity. It is so interesting to meet people from different backgrounds, all sitting in the same classroom. They inspire me to be myself, find work-life balance, and explore more possibilities.

Finally, there is diversity in the courses at Trinity. I did not have many choices in my past study in China because we have our class schedule planned by our school. Each student had an identical schedule. I really appreciate the chance to make choices for myself and learn as many things as possible. Self-management, studying, and other life skills are the most important lessons I have learned here.

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