As an out-of-state student, the experience at Castleton isn’t the same as Vermont students.
A May 2018 graduate, Vidavanh Xapilak, said that it became very obvious on her first day at Castleton that she was not in Massachusetts anymore.
She walked into her first class and one student talked about raising a goat and then all the sudden everyone in the room was talking about their experiences raising goats.
“I was like crap, I’m the only kid in here that hasn’t raised a goat in her lifetime,” Xapilak said.
She also was the only one in the dorms on weekends during hunting season, she said.
Out-of-state students bring their own experiences from their state to Castleton and then find out how Vermont is different from what they’re used to.
The words people from different states use to describe the same thing is something out-of-state students immediately pick up on, the most common being “creemee” to describe soft ice cream.
“I hate that,” said Conner Hageneder. “It’s a weird word.”
Maddy Aponte, from Massachusetts, said she calls liquor stores packys, which is not something her Vermont friends have heard.
Alyssa Ezell, also from Massachusetts, said she gets made fun of for calling water fountains “bubblers.”
But the differences don’t end there.
For some, it is the environment and landscape that seems so different, from how rural and spread out everything is compared to their home state to the actual weather.
“I used to walk everywhere. I didn’t even need a license until I came to Vermont,” said senior Sam Reiver, from Philadelphia.
For senior Victoria Swaine, it was suddenly not having everything at her fingertips. She said back in Long Island, shops and restaurants are everywhere so it was shocking for her to not have that.
Reiver also talked about missing friends back home and missing different aspects of Philadelphia, like Philly Cheesesteaks.
“I actually get sad when someone’s like ‘hey you want a philly cheesesteak?” and I’m not in Philly, because I’m like, you don’t even know,” Reiver said.
For Ryan Boeke, from Colorado, a number of things stood out, like the size of local mountains compared to the Rockies. He calls the mountains of Vermont small hills.
The altitude difference was obvious to him as well, and he said it’s far more humid here with more trees than he was expecting.
“Getting out of the shower it takes twice as long to dry my hair,” he said with a smirk
For Brier Welch, a 2009 graduate from California, it was the snow and how people interacted with each other.
She had never seen snow until she came here and she said it was harder to make connections with the people here. She said what was challenging for her was in California people made fast friends, while here on the east coast it took longer to get to know someone.
“East coasters in general and people from Vermont, they take a while to get to know you,” Welch said.
Parker Davis, a 2012 grad from New Jersey, said there were a lot of things that were different in Vermont. He said that before coming here, he had never known snow tires were even a thing, but soon understood why. The debates he often had with friends from Vermont included the creemee discussion, but also about maple syrup.
“I hate maple syrup, like real maple syrup. My friends from Vermont think I’m a heathen because I don’t like it because I think it tastes like trees,” Davis said.
Although out-of-state students have differences in slang, experiences and where they call home, they find that they take on a lot of the culture here too and learn to love Vermont.
Xapilak said that returning back to Massachusetts she found that she wanted to spend more time outside and go hiking, which was not something she had ever experienced prior to going to Castleton – and said she missed the mountains.
Davis and Reiver said they both loved being so close to the mountains to go snowboarding, with Davis saying he learned to snowboard here.
For Swaine, Castleton has grabbed a part of her heart
“I have enjoyed learning about the Vermont lifestyle and enjoy considering Vermont a second home,” Swaine said.