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Meet Our New International Students from Doshisha University Fall 2019

I am Azusa Kuroe and from Japan, Osaka, which is visited by many foreign tourists.  I have a younger brother and a younger sister.  I love my family and home.  I like talking with friends, listening to music and eating delicious food when I am free. My favorite food is sushi. I am interested in hospitality or tourism.

My favorite picture:

My name is Hiromi Nakakusu, and I’m from Osaka, Japan.  I like going shopping, eating sushi, and traveling. Castleton is surrounded by a lot of beautiful nature and people here are so kind. My senior told me that Castleton is attractive place, so I chose Castleton. I’m looking forward to talking with people who are from other countries and snowboarding. In Japan, I majored in international studies. I like playing volleyball.  I have an older brother and an older sister.

My favorite picture:

Hi, My name is Haruru Oka and I am from Osaka, Japan.  I have an older brother who is a baseball player and a younger sister and also two cats and a dog. I love all of my family including my pets. One cat is Tiger and another is Puku which means “happiness” in Japan and dog’s name is Panchi. The reason why I chose this university is that I can give some supports for international students, for example, the conversation partner program, international club and international festival. I think I can improve my English skills through these supports even if I study at this university for just one year. My favorite sport is basketball. I want to be a flight attendant or to start an English school at home.

My favorite picture:

On October 26th we had a day of Halloween/ Fall Festivities. First, we went to Hathaway Farms to solve a corn maze and went on a hale bay ride.


Then we went to Winslow Farms to pick pumpkins at the pumpkin patch.

Finally, we carved the pumpkins!


First Mongolian Student by Ryenchin Myagmarsuren

My name is Ryenchin Myagmarsuren. I’m from Mongolia. Also, I study economics at the National University of Mongolia. During the third year of my college, I was accepted to the Global UGRAD 2018-2019 Exchange program, to spend a semester studying in America with other outstanding undergraduate students from around the world. This is the simple story of how I came to Castleton University for the spring semester of 2018-2019.

It is such an honor to be the first Mongolian student in Castleton University. I’ve a lot of responsibility to represent my home country. My country is a located in Asia, bordered by China and Russia. Also, our country is very well-known for a nomadic culture and vast steppe. For me, I grew up as the son of a nomadic herder in the remote area of Dornod province in Eastern Mongolia. At the age of five, I learned how to ride a horse, and one year later I participated in actual horse racing in my village as usual Mongolian tradition.


A few years later, I moved to the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, to pursue a better education. In our capital city Ulaanbaatar has over 1.4 million people. In Mongolia, we have four seasons such  as spring, summer, fall and winter as well. For summer time it reaches around 100F and for winter it reaches -40F. In other words, we have a colder winter than Castleton and hot summer as well.

The capital city Ulaanbaatar Source:

I stayed in Castleton for almost four months, January to May. Throughout my experience in Castleton, I made many friends and I learned a lot of new things from the Castleton community besides academics. Also, there are many things that I like here. First, I love people in Castleton because they are very friendly, helpful and safe. Second, I have to mention the green mountain environment and its fresh air. After four months, I feel Castleton as my home, but I feel little bit sad because I’m going to leave Castleton University on May 18th. So, my time in Castleton University became one of my unforgettable lifetime experiences. Academically, my professors were encouraging and with great knowledge. Especially, I learned American history, culture and current socio-economic situation as well. Besides that, the International Office was very encouraging and helpful to adjust to a new environment. Finally, I would like to say thank you for all my friends in the Castleton such as my classmates, roommate and neighbors in my floor. You all helped me to make an incredible semester in the United States.


Washington, D.C Trip by Lyss Eaton & Dee Brown

While everyone was having fun during the Spring break, the International Club was too!

We had a great opportunity to travel to Washington DC for 5 days (as expertly planned with the help of Lyss Eaton, Diana Mantrana, Adrienne Matunas, and many more wonderful people).

We went to the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Capitol, a few of the Smithsonian museums, Chinatown, the National Zoo, and many more places!

Even though the journey driving down to Washington and back was very long (made better with karaoke and lots of cookies), we still had an excellent time in DC. Please enjoy  photos from our trip!


Group Photos:




Candid Photos:




Places we visited:






Fall 2018 Off-Campus Excursions

Somewhere around twice a month, we organize an excursion for international (and local) students. We try to provide a small sample of what Vermont has to offer, and this semester has seen us visiting various locales for hiking, corn maze-ing, and pumpkin picking. There are many corners of the New England lifestyle to explore, and studying abroad is much the same as being home in that the times that you can get out and away from your daily routine are the most memorable.

Here are a couple of photos of trips that were, for me, some of the highlights of this semester.




Global UGRAD, where are they now? Part 1

Bahdja Selhi was a Global UGRAD from Algeria who attended Castleton during the Fall of 2016. She is currently  in Lebanon, pursuing a graduate degree in Migration at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. Before this she co-founded Shaping Young Algerian Minds, an educational NGO, and has worked with her community on youth education, bringing lessons on leadership she learned from her time in the states.

The following is a reflection on her time here at Castleton.

Left: On vacation in Lebanon

Right: First snow in Castleton


A year ago, I got a scholarship to study one semester in the US as an exchange student. As with most international students, and because we mostly only hear about NY or DC, I wished that I would study in one of these two big cities. However, a few days later, I received an email from Castleton. It was my first time noticing this name. The only source that I had to know about this place was the Internet, so I checked it on Google and found many beautiful landscape images. I started wondering. How can a girl who lived her entire life in a small town in the desert of an Arab country, travel to study in a snowy town uphill the mountains in another continent? How is the culture there? What about the people? And countless questions. Every night, I used to imagine and dream about everything that would be there. I drew my own wonderful picture of Castleton.

Days later, the imaginations became real. I was an “international student” at Castleton University. The journey then began.

I still remember the first day when I opened my eyes in a different room filled with marvelous theater stuff that belonged to my roommate, and I realized then that I was not home. I was so tired because of the longest trip I’ve ever taken. I sat there wondering and looking around; everything seemed odd for me.  After few minutes, two friendly girls knocked my door and invited me to explore the campus and meet other international students. With curiosity, I went out with them leaving everything as it was, my luggage even unpacked. We walked outside, and the first thing I noticed was that it was all green, I was flabbergasted. This looked like heaven on earth for me.

The whole campus was astonishing, and I was I extremely eager to explore every corner of it. I still recall how excited I was, taking MANY photos and meeting other students.

After a week, the semester began. I attended classes and discovered the academic system. It was very different and flexible, and I loved the whole program. The professors were comprehensive, they helped me a lot and took my situation into consideration whenever I struggled to understand something that was common knowledge to the American students.

Before I traveled, and since it was my first experience, I was kind of concerned about how I’m going to adapt there. I surfed through several blogs, and one of the common terms discussed were “homesickness,” it made me feel a bit worried, but in fact, this wasn’t a big deal for me when I got there because Castleton gave me another home and a new family.

Homesickness was not all that I came across. One of the repeated tips that I found was that international students should not be shy, otherwise they won’t be able to make friends. Although I read this, it was hard for me to open up at first because we had so many differences and I wasn’t aware of the culture, but actually, people at Castleton accept you regardless of your background. They try to understand you, respect you, and love you just the way you are.

Eventually, I became more easygoing. From looking at differences as a hurdle, I found myself discovering several similarities. And I learned that both of them are what shape those unique lifelong friendships between people from all walks of life.

I had the chance to get to know many people from different countries such as Nigeria, China, Nepal …etc, and because of the i-seminar, organized by the campus, I could learn more about them and try their traditional dishes as well.

The university also used to plan trips for the international students once every two weeks. We visited various places, tried new things, and had so much fun together.

This great university means a lot for me. It’s the place that holds my best memories, and most importantly, the beautiful souls whom I met, the ones who made my experience fabulous. I had friends who prepared for me hot cups of tea and made me forget about my illness when I once fell sick. They organized an amazing party for us, the UGRADERs, they prepared delicious food, gave us beautiful Christmas gifts, and played with us funny games. And of course I can’t forget my best friend who made my Halloween experience unforgettable along with many other splendid days.

One of the reasons that I traveled to the US was not only to study, but also to explore its culture, and Castleton was the perfect place to do so. Traditional and religious celebrations are highly valued there. And as I mentioned above, professors were always kind and helpful. One of my favorite lecturers Mr. Supernovich, invited me to Thanksgiving dinner which had a special charm. This gave me the chance to learn more about American families and traditions.

After an incredible semester, I came back home inspired and eager to make a positive change in my society. I co-founded a non-profit project called “Shaping Young Algerian Minds” where I shared the skills and the knowledge that I gained from my experience at Castleton University. It is a leadership and educational project that aims to empower inquisitive teenagers.

Although Castleton was chosen for me, if I went back in time, and was given the chance to choose, I would definitely go for Castleton University again. And I am so glad that I got the opportunity today to write something about this place and reveal what hides behind the digital photos, because although Castleton as a town is captivating, I also believe that its people, their spirits, and the culture are more fascinating.

It’s not “Good-bye”….

but “See you later!”.

That is just what the Castleton community got to say to 15 students from Doshisha Women’s College (Japan) and from ECUT, Jiajung, and Ludong Universities (China) on Friday, May 4th. These students completed either a semester or year at Castleton University in the 2018-2019 academic year.

We congratulate you intelligent, kind, hard-working, generous and beautiful young women on all of your successes at Castleton–academic, linguistic, social, and extra-curricular.  You made a difference to our community in central Vermont and we are so excited to watch you make a difference in our world! We look forward to seeing you again some day.