Author: das04021 (page 1 of 2)

Living and Working in Rutland after Castleton–You Can!

Did you know? Castleton’s international students who fall in love with our beautiful, healthy, fun-filled community can stay in the area after graduation. There are numerous opportunities to work in a multitude of sectors in Rutland County and other areas of Vermont. Some of our recent international graduates have done just this, landing jobs at Casella Waste Systems, Neutral Zone (a hockey scouting and news site), and Vermont Commons School.

In early February, members of Castleton University’s leadership team were given a tour of GE Aviation in Rutland. GE is a world-leading manufacturer and service provider for commercial and military jet engines.  GE Aviation is hiring college graduates with a wide variety of degrees and is a perfect example of another local company that would welcome our international students to its staff.

Castleton’s Visit to the GE Aviation in Rutland
February 2018

For more information about internship and job opportunities with GE Aviation and other employers in Rutland and Vermont, contact Renee Beaupre-White, Director of Career Services at Castleton.


Sharing in the Classroom

By Tom Rutkowski, Professor, Business Administration

One of the first positive attributes that I feel international students bring to our classrooms is the ability to take risks. I was sent by our government to Russia as a volunteer consultant in 1996, 2000, and 2001. As I was getting ready the first time, for about 3 weeks in Moscow and then Novosibirsk, I was apprehensive, maybe a little worried. And, I was about twice the age of the international students who come great distances to study a semester or an entire academic career at Castleton! I respect all international students for their courage to try something and some place new.  I love seeing how the international students that are in my classes “grow” as they are here. Sometimes that growth is with their English, other times it can be at learning our culture, but it has always been a positive growth.

Finally, I find the international students to be well prepared with their academics when they arrive. I look forward to contacting one of them (Elnura Alinova) who was here in the fall semester. She has agreed to serve as a “correspondent” from her home and her school, sharing with me and with my BUS 3245 Global Marketing class such information as what American products she sees at home, what she feels we could trade with businesses in her country, how our school differs from hers at home, and how we can learn from the people in her country.

Thank you, international students, for sharing with us!


By Miki Kumeda and Nanako Okamachi,  Students from Japan

We, the international students, held the International Festival on December 7th.

We introduced each country’s culture to students and professors by serving traditional foods and showing performances. We had really a great time!

For more information about the International Festival, see the article in the Castleton Spartan newspaper.

World Class Volunteers at Women’s World Cup









Four Castleton University international students were among the hundreds of ski volunteers at the Audi FIS Women’s Ski World Cup at Killington Ski Resort over Thanksgiving weekend. Li, who is pictured in the photo on the left all the way to the right, and Oskar, Paul and Anton seen left to right in the photo on the right, were on the race course crew.

These goodhearted students spent their Thanksgiving break working from dawn to after dark slipping the slalom and giant slalom courses on Superstar trail where the world’s best female ski racers from 20 countries competed. In addition, they built inflatable walls (and took them down) around metal objects (e.g. chairlift towers) to protect the ski racers from injury in case of a crash, of which there were a few. These students know from personal experience what ski racing is all about, being members of the Castleton alpine team. They are excited to hit the slopes themselves and start training for their first race on January 12, 2018 at Okemo Mountain.

It was a great experience to watch the whole event from the inside, and to see all those people who have put hours and hours into this, said Oskar Eriksson of Sweden,

Everyone did an amazing job, as I heard so many good things about Paul, Li, Anton, and Oskar from various folks who were also volunteering, said Castleton’s Alpine Ski Coach, Chris Eder, who also volunteered his time to work 12+ hour days to help with the course.

–Debbie Singiser, Director of International Student Services




A Season of Gratitude

Thanksgiving in the United States kicks off the short but intense period when there seems to never be enough time  to get everything done. Due dates for research papers loom scarily close. Final exam week, which used to be months in the future, are now just a few short weeks away. International flights need to be booked. Arrangements for winter break must be finalized.  Gifts for friends and family are waiting to be purchased. And the list goes on and on and on.

For me personally, outside of my life at Castleton, there is  the preparation at home for the holiday season (cleaning, decorating, shopping, wrapping, mailing, cooking, ordering, etc.), which just thinking about right now makes my pulse start racing and sets my head spinning. So before all of our lives get too busy, and the pace of life becomes too frenetic, and we are all-consumed by our impossible “To Do” lists, I want to pause just for a moment to  say how grateful I am to Castleton’s  international students, all 66 of you (or at least those who see this blog!). I am grateful to you for the diverse and rich experiences that you share with us in the ISO and all of us at Castleton. You bring immeasurable benefits to our community every day.  I would be remiss if I didn’t say “thank you” because despite all the craziness that lies ahead, this is also the season of gratitude.

Happy and safe travels this Thanksgiving break.

With thanks, Debbie




Welcome to Castleton!

Castleton students come from more than 40 countries around the world.  We are proud of the many diverse cultures represented on our campus in central Vermont.  To all we say “Hello, welcome to Castleton!”


A Gift of Friendship

By Jessica Cromie, Part-Time Faculty Member and Host “Mom”

Last Winter I had no notion when I responded to Debbie Singiser’s email requesting volunteers for hosting international students the enormity of the gift we would be receiving. The gift was the very special friendship of three incredible Chinese international students, Rita, Rebecca and Tami. The girls have brought incredible joy and enrichment into our lives. Last night was our first time seeing the girls after their summer break, which they spent back at home in China. After dinner I sat back and watched the beautiful interactions in our home, and once again felt so thankful. Sitting there at the dining room table amidst the food, music and candles I heard Mandarin being spoken, girls giggling, and our young daughters learning about Chinese art, history, calligraphy, and most importantly connecting as family with our sweet friends. We spent the next day exploring a Vermont farm, something I have taken for granted. I have to admit watching all of the girls petting chickens, milking cows, and riding on a tractor is so much more fun through the lens of someone who has never experienced it before!

Initially last winter when I spoke with Debbie on the phone regarding hosting an international student she informed me that many of the international students would not be flying home for the holidays, and would be alone on campus. She informed me that many of them would love to experience an “American Christmas” and share a connection with a family. The prospect of having a student from another country to share our traditions and learn from theirs sounded like a fresh way for our family to celebrate, and appreciate the true meaning of Christmas. We told Debbie we were interested in hosting more than one student, and learned that there were three Chinese girls who were interested in staying together and spending time with a family. Our family suddenly became giddy about Christmas – What could we share with them? And experience together? Should we take them sledding? Or to see the Christmas lights?!

Last Christmas with the three girls was just the beginning of this incredible gift of friendship to our family. We have since had many adventures with the girls. We have all been Nordic and alpine skiing, and sledding together. What a joy to watch our 9- year-old teach the girls how to ski! These adventures have all ended with a lot of giggling, hot cocoa, and a new appreciation for things we tend to take for granted.

Our family spent an entire evening last fall learning to make Chinese dumplings, even our 5-year old was part of the dough rolling and vegetable stuffing. We love Chinese dumplings! We celebrated the Chinese New Year in authentic style, and learned a Chinese board game thanks to our sweet friends. We have learned some new traditions, and shared ours. We are thrilled to have another year with “our girls” now that they have returned to Castleton for the year. We would encourage other families to consider hosting a student or two. It has been a huge blessing to our family, and has carried the energy of adventure, connection, and curiosity into our home. We are excited for this next year, and for the experiences and adventures we will share!

Alpine Skiing

Learning Chinese Calligraphy

Outdoor Fun

Adventuring in Switzerland

By Jocelyn Forrest, Sophomore Student from British Columbia, Canada

(Editor’s Note:  In May and June, Jocelyn traveled to several European countries to see and learn about new places and to reconnect with current and former Castleton students along the way.  She wanted to reflect on her experiences by writing a series of stories for the blog.  This is Jocelyn’s second of three stories.)


I don’t have much to say about Switzerland since I was there for just over three days, and I only visited one place.  However, I can tell you why I fell in love. I first fell in love with this country when taking the train from Zurich, a main city of Switzerland, to Interlaken, a small town and my desired destination. Almost the whole ride I was entertained simply by the mountains that stood a short distance away from the train’s view. It was hard not to look.  When I arrived in Interlaken, I was in awe. It is completely surrounded by mountains. I compared these mountains to tall buildings in big cities- that’s how close they were. The only difference being that you can hike up or take a cable car up any of the mountains. I arrived in my hostel in Interlaken late at night and it was hard for me to fall asleep because I was too eager to begin adventuring Switzerland.

Interlaken is built on a narrow stretch of valley, between the emerald-coloured waters of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, and it has old timber houses and parklands on either side of the Aare River. In addition to its surrounding mountains, it has dense forests, alpine meadows and glaciers, making it an easy and desirable attraction for adventure travelers. Many travelers go there to do adventure activities offered such as paragliding, skydiving, canyoning, mountain biking, hiking, white water rafting, bungee jumping, paddle boarding, snowboarding, skiing and more. My first day I rented a stand-up paddleboard which took up the first half of my day. After that I went canyoning, which is the sport of exploring a canyon by engaging in such activities as rappelling, rafting, and waterfall jumping. It was by far the best thing I did in Switzerland and one of my favourite memories of Europe.

Later that evening back at the hostel it was karaoke night. Balmers Hostel is one of Europe’s first and most famous hostels. It has pool tables, ping pong tables, a life-size chess board, an enclosed backyard with hammocks, a bar, and a club. The atmosphere is amazing and the staff is great. Each night, there is a different themed party. This particular Tuesday night it was karaoke and it was a blast. People from all over the world got up to sing whatever they wished. I even got on the floor with two other Canadians to sing the Canadian national anthem and everyone was really into it!

The next day, I went white water rafting with a group of 40 people, which I had booked through the hostel. We rafted on emerald-coloured glacier water along mountains and small villages. The two-hour rafting trip ended with an opening to a beautiful lake and we settled there for a while. Switzerland isn’t as hot as Italy, but it was still hot for a Canadian, so jumping into the lake felt amazing. While I was there, the temperature was around 26-28 degrees Celsius.  Therefore it was a bit hotter than I was used to but not too hot, another reason I really liked Switzerland. For the remainder of the day, I relaxed on a hammock and walked around Interlaken. That night, it was beach night at the hostel and this was one of my favourite nights in Europe. I met people from Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Nova Scotia, Switzerland and the U.S. for a total of just fewer than 20 people. We exchanged travel stories and desires.  I learned a lot from them.

It was during these moments in talking to other travelers when I was reminded how important it is to travel. My destination before Switzerland was Amsterdam, which I absolutely loved, but on the last day there and en route to Interlaken, I had a lot of fallouts and hit a breaking point of feeling homesick. But this feeling ended when I arrived in Switzerland because it was very similar to home. I’m from British Columbia, Canada, which is surrounded by mountains so the scenery in Switzerland brought me comfort. Also the people I met in Switzerland were very relaxed and kind people, like Canadians. Switzerland is in my future as I hope to play pro hockey there once I graduate from Castleton and if that doesn’t work, I will go there anyway because sky diving from atop the Swiss Alps is on my bucket list. To end this, I will finish with this quote I stumbled upon: “Switzerland is a place where they don’t like to fight, so they get people to do their fighting for them while they ski and eat chocolate.”

Jocelyn Forrest

Slowing Down in Sweden

By Jocelyn Forrest, Sophomore Student from British Columbia, Canada

(Editor’s Note:  In May and June, Jocelyn traveled to several European countries to see and learn about new places and to reconnect with current and former Castleton students along the way.  She wanted to reflect on her experiences by writing a series of stories for the blog.  This is Jocelyn’s first of three stories.)


Earlier this summer, I began my five-week European trip in Sweden, and I immediately fell in love with the country. The Swedish people are very kind, classy, and gentle. It is a nice change from the more outgoing and “loud” nature of us North Americans. Everyone dresses very nicely there, at all times. What they consider pajamas, we consider a normal day outfit such as leggings and a loose t-shirt. The majority of the clothes worn in Sweden are navy blue, black, grey, or white—-in other words, you don’t see a lot of colour. Most of the vehicles are made by Volvo, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, or Volkswagen- even their semis are Mercedes Benz. There are no trucks and not many “not nice-looking” cars there.

I love Sweden, and I blame this on my newly acquired addiction to coffee, thanks to Fika. A Swedish tradition, Fika’s basic meaning is: “to have coffee“, often accompanied with something sweet.  It is more about socializing than drinking coffee. It happens at least 2 or 3 times a day and, trust me, the Swedes are shocked if you turn down Fika or even a coffee. I barely drank coffee before my trip, maybe one or two times per month. However, by the time I left Sweden, I was used to drinking at least one or two cups per day, which is a big change for me. I really like the concept of Fika in that Swedes will take time out of their day to sit with their friends, relax and talk, no matter how busy they are or how many things they have on their mind. I think this practice needs to be incorporated into North America, as we have a tendency to rush through our days and invite unnecessary stress into our lives. As a result, we pick up something quick from a fast food place before returning to our hectic day.  We do this despite the reality that in fact, we do have time to sit down and socialize and still keep our day intact.

I could go on and on about Sweden, but I will stop here so I can write about and share with you my experiences in two other wonderful countries–Switzerland and Norway. Stay tuned!



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