When I was applying for US colleges, I hoped it to be an educational institution that provides me with new challenges and allows me to fulfill my potential. As I browsed different college websites, a video from Denison website caught my attention. In the video, students are seen collecting data in labs, choreographing dances, holding concerts and striving to their best in athletic fields. I saw a diverse study body and vibrant campus culture, and the thing that impressed me the most was the passion and excitement exuded from every person. At that time, I knew Denison is where I wanted to go.
After sending in my enrollment decision, I received a lot of useful information about the campus from the admission staff. They also helped me match my roommates based on my daily routine, and sent the contact information of all international students admitted to my program so that we can connect with each other. I was also put in touch with a host family in town.
Located in Granville, Denison University is 30 minutes drive away from Columbus, the capital of Ohio. Without traffic congestion that many big cities have, life here is serene and tranquil. During weekends or holidays, I would often join dinner parties held by my host family, where I learn about American culture. There are many festivals in Granville, such as Bluegrass festival and the Candle Light Tour before Christmas; whenever there is a festival, local residents and Denison students would join the celebration on the main street. Town folks also actively attend athletic games, concerts and theatre shows. These events bring together people in town, and help to unite the community firmly.
With nearly 200 years of history, Denison University encourages liberal arts education, allowing students to discover their interests and expand their horizon. I am majoring in Economics, while I also took classes in psychology, philosophy, religion and even dance and music. These classes enable me to look at the world from different perspectives.
The average class size at Denison is 19 students per class. The most crowded class I’ve taken had 25 students, and the least crowded one had 8 students. In small classes, I was able to present my ideas freely and have insightful conversations with students and professors. I remember when I had Linear Algebra class in my sophomore year, there were only 10 students in my class, and by the end of the semester, everyone became really good friends. The professor invited the entire class to his house for dinner, introduced his wife and kids, and made Mexican food for us. For all the classes that I have taken at Denison, I always ended up having good personal relationships with the professors; I also go to their office hours constantly for questions or research projects discussion.
Denison University offers bountiful resources to its students, and over 170 student organizations offer the best opportunity for students to shine through. In my first year, I joined the Fencing Club. Our coach used to be on the national fencing team, and he is currently an English professor at Denison. His novel was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 2013. I also participated in a lot of community service work. There are service opportunities every Saturday, and we would go to Newark to distribute food or visit nursing homes. Because about 9% of the student body is international students, we also celebrate a lot of cultural festivals. One of my favorite being the Lunar New Year celebration, where people would get together for a Chinese dinner and enjoy students’ performances.
The school also provided huge support for students. As an international student, I faced a lot of challenges and cultural differences. But the International Student Services helped me with every aspect of my life, from registration, enrollment, to applying for social security number and tax returns. As for career plans, the powerful alumni network provided current students with many jobs and internships. Last year, I found an internship through alumni connection at a non-profit organization in New York City. I applied my econometric modeling skills obtained at school to help the organization make wiser decisions.
The people that I met at Denison have also influenced me greatly. Denison’s students are from all over the United States and 27 countries and regions. They brought with them different languages, cultures, nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. The students are hardworking, devoted and ambitious. For instance, one of my Indian friends is aspired to improve the health conditions in developing countries, and another friend wanted to devote her time to improve social equality. We always have great discussions about social problems and campus issues, and these great peers inspired me to do better every day.
Four years ago, I couldn’t have believed that this would be my college experience. Denison not only gave me excellent education, but also let me build so many long-lasting relationships with students and faculty members. Most importantly, it helped me discover my potentials and my passion, which will guide me all through my life.