Recently Castleton has been making great strides to broaden its international program, including trying to get more international students attending CSC as well as seeing more Castleton students traveling to study abroad.
To foster these goals, the President’s Advisory Council was recently formed (to help expand Castleton’s international program). Debbie Singiser and Associate Academic Dean Ingrid Johnston-Robledo will co-chair the council while working closely with President Dave Wolk.
“I’m very excited about the prospects for increasing inclusivity and expanding our international population here,” Wolk said. “As well as encouraging more students to study abroad.”
Singiser echoed Wolk.
“We can really get Castleton ready for more international students,” said Singiser.
With 70 percent of its student population from Vermont, Castleton is eager to embrace diversity with open arms.
“We want it to work really well for people at Castleton,” Associate Academic Dean Yasmine Ziesler said. “Everybody brings something to Castleton.”
Castleton only has 30 international students currently, and the council will look to raise that number although members realize it won’t be immediate.
“It’s going to take a couple of years before we see significant growth in international growth,” said Singiser. “As with any new program it takes a while to fully take flight.”
Freshman Merna Ishak, one of two twins from Egypt, has found that Castleton was easy to fit into even though it’s different.
“The schooling is so much different in Egypt, we just wanted a better education and knew it was better here for us,” she said.
Professors and college officials have been recruiting in other countries hoping to spark interest with students to experience a completely different culture.
“Students can be introduced to people who might look or think differently than them, said Wolk. “It’s important that the college embrace the beauty of diversity.”
To improve campus life for international and local students, Castleton has been working to make it more unique by incorporating many new things. Cuisine will be broadened and a special cherished area to worship may be introduced on campus, Singiser said.
“We’re really looking at ways that we can be more welcoming to people from different countries, cultures, races, and religions,” Wolk said.
Officials say Castleton just wants to become a more attractive place for foreign students so others like the Ishak twins from Egypt can be a part of Spartan life.
“Everything you do here is different, it takes some getting used to,” said Ishak. “I’m involved in things and I felt welcome here at once.”