Fifteen international students from five different countries are graduating from Castleton University this year, the most ever.
Three are getting their master’s degrees and the other 12 will be receiving their undergraduate degrees.
Among them are business, social work, education and science majors to name a few. Each came to Castleton to pursue degrees but say they are leaving with memories that will last forever.
Rebecca Ren, a business marketing major from China, achieved her dream of becoming certified as a scuba diver, something she would not have been able to do in her home country.
Tammy Tang, also a business marketing major from China, spoke about cherishing all the memories made with her host family.
“I really appreciate them. I am far from my hometown and they gave me a lot of help and made me feel more comfortable,” Tang said.
Tatenda Shumba, a business management major from Zimbabwe, and Quentin Barthe, a social work major from France, said they value all the friends they made here most and being able to participate in sports they are passionate about.
They said they’re excited to graduate, but sad to leave Castleton and nervous to join the working world.
Shumba will be attending graduate school in Switzerland. Tang will return home to intern at her uncle’s hotel. Barthe hopes to find a job as an international social worker, and Ren will return home to help manage her family’s company.
“I’m so excited. I’m a little bit sad because I will leave here and I really love Castleton,” Ren said.
“I think I’m more excited for the unexpected,” Shumba said when asked what he was looking forward to after graduating.
Director of International Student Services, Deborah Singiser, is extremely proud of this class. She said they all have achieved so much during their time at Castleton, whether it was participating in sports or achieving academic honors.
“They come with a lot of skills and talents and hardworking habits that are evident when they make honors year after year,” Singiser said.
She also said these students all found their own paths at Castleton, doing what they love and making friends along the way.
“I feel like they have many inroads in different populations here at Castleton University. In their majors, in their departments, on their teams, among other students from their home countries and probably with other international students as well,” Singiser said.
Reflecting on their time at Castleton, the students interviewed all agreed they love this school and the opportunities it has given them.
“My favorite place is here because I found a feeling like home. I love it here. I’m familiar with here and everyone is so friendly,” Ren said.
“If I was to do it again, I wouldn’t pick another place other than Castleton,” Barthe said.
Singiser said she wanted to thank the students them and wish them good luck.
“If I had all 15 of them in the same room, I would wish them all well, thank them for being Castleton Spartans, and tell them how proud of them we are,” she said.