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The Wide World of Williston: The Benefits of an Internationally Diverse Student Body

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The Wide World of Williston: The Benefits of an Internationally Diverse Student Body

Students gather on the International Terrace during Welcome Days. Credit: Williston Flickr.

Students gather on the International Terrace during Welcome Days. Credit: Williston Flickr.

Students gather on the International Terrace during Welcome Days. Credit: Williston Flickr.

Students gather on the International Terrace during Welcome Days. Credit: Williston Flickr.

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The diversity at Williston keeps expanding as the school opened its doors to 50 new international students this year – the highest number ever.

The students coming to Williston this year are from 30 different countries all around the world, including Germany, Serbia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Senegal, South Korea, Thailand, and Nigeria.

Every year, Ann Pickrell, the Assistant Head of School, travels around the world interview students. Pickrell sat down with The Willistonian and talked about her experience crossing the globe to find new member of the Williston family.

“I went to 11 countries last year and every year we tried to find students from countries that we haven’t had at Williston before,” said Pickrell. “Our goal is to become more diverse with as many cultures as we can. The thing that is most important to me is that students can take this as an opportunity to see that there are more similarities than differences of people with different backgrounds.”

Pickrell said she wants even more international students next year.

“For next year, we would love to have more students coming from Europe,” said Pickrell. “so the number of new international students might still be increasing. And that is an amazing thing.”

Punn Kantaratt, a four-year-senior at Williston from Bangkok, Thailand and also an international student mentor for the last 2 years, shared some thoughts about the international program and its benefits.

“I think it’s great that the number of international students [is] expanding,” said Punn. “When I came in as a freshman, there [weren’t] many kids coming from Asia like me. Throughout the years, I can see that the number has been increasing a lot. Especially for Asians, we have at least four people from each grade from South Korea, China, Vietnam.”

Punn feels very grateful to be in an environment like Williston.

“Having more than one student from the same country is very important.” said Punn. “Not only it would make the school becomes more diverse because there are students from the same country but different regions, it would also help the students feel less homesick.”

Punn added, “And they can still keep their traditions with them even though they are in a complete different culture.”

Anushka Bagde, a new member of Williston, is from Alberta, Canada. She is excited to encounter students from across the globe here.

“My old school, EF Academy in New York, has 90% international students,” said Anushka, “so coming here I still feel like the number of international students is still not enough. I would love to make more friends from different parts of the world. And it would also give me a reason to come visit them during the summer and explore more of the world around me.”

Meg Valine, Director of International Student Programs, is happy that Williston has becomes more diverse. She believes that “people should recognize that the world is becoming more global and therefore we should be more mindful of other countries,” she said. “Students at Williston get the chance to experience the richest of diversity right in their classrooms as we share different perspectives. As students go on to college, it is important that they are ready for a global body of students.”

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Nhi Nguyen '19, Managing Editor

Nhi is a senior at Williston. She is from Hanoi, Vietnam. In her free time, she enjoys taking pictures and hanging out with friends.

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The Wide World of Williston: The Benefits of an Internationally Diverse Student Body