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International Students Feel Right at Home

I came into George School as a freshman after living in Basel, Switzerland for more than half of my life. I knew that I wanted to attend university in the United States, and I felt that my school in Basel would not provide me with the support that I would need, as the college counselors were only familiar with schools in Europe.

When I expressed interest in going to a boarding school, my mother brought up George School as she was raised in Newtown, and we still have family 20 minutes away from campus. As soon as I looked at the website, I knew that George School was the right place for me. I took a tour and was so anxious, as I worried that I would not fit in and that being 6,341 km away from my family would be too difficult. My anxiety quickly diminished on my first day at George School.

George School has a program called ISO, International Student Organization, which allows international students to connect. Although I did not attend ISO, I quickly made friends with students from all around the world in sports, classes, and clubs. After coming from a different country, I was worried that everyone would know each other from middle school or affiliate Friends Schools. The main thing that I realized is that even the people who knew each other from middle school were eager to make new friends. This was very reassuring.

Freshman year I moved in with my grandparents, as they live 20 minutes from campus, and I began school. Although I did not experience boarding life, I experienced many emotions of a first-year boarding student: homesickness, anxiety, and fear. Like many of my boarding friends, all of those negative emotions went away as I met new people and had new experiences. One of my favorite parts of being an international student is that you are exposed to so many new cultures. ISO hosts the “International Student Assembly”, where International Students showcase cultural dances, songs and combine cultures to show the unity and diversity which George School exhibits.

Being away from home has taught me many things, but being an international student has taught me that everyone is different and not everyone will think like you, but GS does an amazing job of making you feel at home.

Sofia is a lead ambassador, day student prefect, member of both the Student Inclusion Committee and Class of 2021 Steering Committee, as well as a participant in other student clubs including Model United Nations. Sofia was admitted into Boston University, where she plans on studying public relations with a minor in business.

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