The life of an international student is a transformative, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Without the right support and environment to thrive, challenges might weigh down on you and keep you from having the time of your life abroad.
South Korean student Dahee Kim encountered such support throughout her time at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. A literature lover, Kim had chosen the university due to its reputation in liberal arts education and the small, student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1. “Since I wanted to improve my English-speaking skills in the US, I thought the school fit me perfectly.”
Kim’s arrival to the US exemplified Lawrence University’s extraordinary student-centred support. “There were many student advisors who helped me adapt into the new environment at the university. They picked me up from the airport to my dorm. The people at Lawrence are very kind and always happy to help.”
Adapting into the academic life at Lawrence wasn’t easy for Kim initially. She struggled with participating in her literature class during her freshman year due to shyness. Thanks to a solid support system on campus, Kim managed to find her footing and was emboldened to voice her opinions in class. “With the help of my professors and the Centre for Academic Success, I eventually got an A for that subject.”
A community of intellectuals and creatives
Since its establishment in 1847, Lawrence University has been synonymous with community. The residential liberal arts college and conservatory of music boasts 1,500 students from nearly every state in the US and 50 different countries. Students here don’t just thrive under an enlightening liberal arts education; they find a sense of belonging in its close-knit student body.
Riko Ogihara arrived fresh-eyed from Tokyo to begin a new chapter as an international student, and was immediately drawn into the vibrant student life on campus. “I made a lot of friends in my first year at Lawrence. I was especially close to my roommate, and we went to the café to study together!”
Balancing classes and extracurricular pursuits sometimes could be a challenge. With the help of her professors and tutors, Ogihara found a way to structure her classes to leave room for her artistic pursuits. “Since I was interested in many areas, I had a hard time deciding which classes I should take. I overcame this by talking to my advisor and setting my priorities,” she says. Ogihara has since performed with the orchestra, joined a dance and choir ensemble on campus, and confidently showcased her leadership skills by being the president of the Japanese Cultural Exchange Club.
As a liberal arts college that encourages students to explore their best potential, Lawrence University offers degrees such as the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Music, and the Bachelor of Musical Arts. Whether your passions lie in the arts or hard sciences, the university’s wide-ranging programmes have something for each student to further explore their academic interests.
Discover major subjects such as Data Science, Hard Sciences, and Economics, which all emphasise hands-on learning through internships and research opportunities integrated within the programmes, on top of providing students access to excellent graduate and professional school placements. The small class sizes allow for greater interactivity between students and instructors, creating a favourable environment where students can be active participants in their learning journey.
“I chose Lawrence because of its exceptionally small size and inclusive environment, which has provided me with opportunities to get to know people from diverse backgrounds and build relationships with professors,” explains Elina Nguyen, a Vietnamese student majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Economics. Nguyen credits her professors for their assistance in understanding her course materials better, thus giving her room to participate in non-academic activities.
“During the past few years at Lawrence, I have been able to self-discover and have a deeper understanding of myself. I have also met a lot of talented individuals from diverse backgrounds, which I’ll never forget after I graduate,” she adds.
Success beyond the classroom
At Lawrence University, students recognise that their success isn’t limited to their studies. The lessons acquired in class and being a part of the university community all contribute to building the discipline and drive needed to succeed in the real world.
“I never really had a job before coming to Lawrence, and I’m currently holding several positions on campus along with independent research with one of my professors. Learning to balance work and academics has been a major challenge, but a necessary one, which I’m still learning,” says Chinese student Difei Jiang, who feels that her hard work is valued and recognised at the university.
Foreign students like her usually need to be more independent than domestic students, especially when dealing with visas, finances, time management, and work placement. “Learning to overcome these challenges has been a part of my growth at Lawrence. It has helped me become a better person.”
While the number of students might be small, no one can ignore the student-centred care that Lawrence University highlights in all aspects of its teaching and on-campus community. Lawrentians excel long after graduating due to their university experience, where education is as rigorous as it is illuminating.
To know more about applying to the university, click here.