iC Dingbat

Colby's World Record

Story by: Teko Mmolawa '12  |  Photos By: Hieu Phan '14
International Coffee Hour
International students from all four classes pose in the coffeehouse, where there’s an International Coffee Hour every Friday, open to all—complete with desserts baked by students.

The new school year kicked off with many foreign faces on campus. It’s not just that first-years look unfamiliar—it’s that they are from so many different countries. The Class of 2015 includes more international students than any previous class.

Forty-two countries are represented in the first-year class alone, including Iran, Estonia, the Philippines, Rwanda, and Peru. Seventy-three students are international citizens, which is nine more than the previous year.

Why so many? Sandra Sohne-Johnston, associate director of admissions and financial aid, said that, while other colleges cut down on their acceptance of international students for financial reasons this year, Colby did not. Therefore, more of these students picked Colby. “The college has a priority of recruiting international students.”

Because internationalization is an institutional priority, financial aid is administered differently than at many other schools. “A lot of our aid money for non-UWC [Davis United World College] international students is endowed, and it’s restricted,” said Steve Thomas, director of admissions. “It has to be spent on international students. So we couldn’t pull back on that if we wanted to.”

The nonresident international students began trickling in during the weekend of August 26 for a special orientation. It was not easy getting that many students to campus, as Hurricane Irene was battering the East Coast, causing flights to be canceled.

“It was tough. It was a lot of recalculating, a lot more trips to the airports or arranging to get them here when they first arrive,” said Susan McDougal, associate dean of students and the advising dean for international students.

Despite the shaky arrival, students were eager to get started. “UWC has prepared me for this kind of experience,” said Papa Mode Loum ’15, a Davis UWC scholar from Senegal. Colby’s size appealed to Loum. “It is better than going to a huge university where you will be just a number,” he said.

And it is not just returning international students who are excited to see the new faces. “It enriches the educational process, and you get to see the world from different angles,” said Mariah Smith ’13 of Belfast, Maine. “You get to experience what different cultures are like.”

Teko Mmolawa '12
Gaborone, Botswana
Majors: English & French Studies

Hieu Phan '14
Hai Duong, Vietnam
Major: Computer Science