A new school year has officially begun! We are so excited to welcome new students from all over the world to form a student body 190-strong. This year, we are delighted to increase our cultural diversity on campus, with a whopping 73 nationalities represented in our student body. Excitingly, for the first time ever, we have students coming from Sweden, Cote d’Ivoire, Argentina, Peru, and a dozen other countries.
For the past two weeks, our students have been immersed in an orientation program that has allowed everyone to settle in, get to know each other, and start to forge important bonds of friendship. On the first night, we kicked off the orientation program with a welcome ceremony that included a surprise performance from the Miyota Dragon Dance troupe! Our students had the unique opportunity to carry the 30-meter long dragon alongside the troupe, and it was an incredibly delightful start to our unique program.
While the first week of Orientation included a number of informational sessions such as faculty and staff introductions, placement tests and department workshops, our students still had plenty of fun getting to know their fellow peers through icebreakers, morning cultural games and movie nights. In fact, during the weekend, there was a belated Holi celebration. As explained by our Hindu students, Holi is typically celebrated in spring to symbolize new beginnings, love, friendship and forgiveness. We were a few months late celebrating it, but there was no shortage of love or friendship on the day!
During the second week, we made a conscious decision to give our students more downtime to prepare for the beginning of classes. This meant that while they were still kept busy with leadership workshops, medical check-ups and even a basketball tournament, they had the time and space to bond and reflect in an informal setting. That said, on the last day of Orientation, our student organizers decided to close off the program spectacularly — first, with an Amazing Race in the afternoon, then an Obon celebration in the evening. The Amazing Race was a wonderful way for our students, new and returning, to discover hidden gems near the campus, from a butterfly sanctuary to a family-run Italian restaurant. It was quite a sight to see our community (yes, our staff and faculty joined in!) running around, taking selfies and completing tasks!
Thank you to everyone who helped to make this Orientation an amazing and memorable one! We are confident that the year ahead will be challenging yet exciting.