Life as an international student at a boarding school

Post by Kat Simison, Associate Director of Admission at Miss Porter’s School

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked in interviews with prospective international students is, “What is the transition like for an international student at Porter’s?” This is my favorite question to answer because I’m proud of the support Porter’s provides for international students from the day they interview until the day they graduate. Read on for reflections from current international students and a list of the ways in which we support their transition to campus!

Our 2017-2018 International Student Advisory tri-heads reflect on their time at Porter’s:

Thirds_Squash-33“This is my third year being at Porter’s and also my third year coming to the U.S. What really surprised me about this community is the relationships between students from different grades as well as between students and teachers. Even though I had some language barriers and I was shy during my first year, there are always so many people out there and being supportive, like my Old Girl, my advisor, my student Junior Advisor, who helped me gain confidence to speak out and speak up. I really enjoy the emphasis on supporting others and being supported by others at Porter’s, and I am also grateful for the amazing friends I met here.” – Liz ’19

“For me, being an international student at Miss Porter’s School is a very unique experience. Since the school is so small, you get to know everyone — not just people in your own grade. Moreover, the community here is so supportive and welcoming that it seems as if I just slipped right in: I didn’t have to adjust or change myself to be accepted. 

“This is a big part of why I like this school so much. Before I came here, I worried about not being able to make friends because people would judge me for not being ‘American,’ but after I arrived, I realized just how silly that notion was. The community here is so diverse and open-minded that instead of other people being shocked at my culture, most of the time it was me who was introduced to new ideas or beliefs. Furthermore, I met so many people here who are genuinely interested in my Chinese customs; for example, I remember teaching one of my friends how to play a popular Chinese card game called ‘Dou Dizhu’ — a game that she is addicted to even now — and watching my other friends fangirl over the Chinese snacks that I brought over. It is these little moments and the general encouraging community here that makes my life at Porter’s so special.” -Roanna ’19

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”I love being an international student at Miss Porter’s School because I am able to represent my country. My favorite part is when I am able to challenge other’s assumptions or misconceptions related to Turkey. Interacting with other international students in and out of the classroom has taught me to be proud of my ‘international’ identity. I am sure that everyone who is a part of the Miss Porter’s community goes the extra mile to make sure other community members feel safe and included. I feel comfortable sharing parts of my culture because of all of the support I have received and continue to receive from the community I am proud to call home.” – Janset ’18

The transition to Porter’s:

  • In addition to having a faculty advisor, all international students form part of the International Student Advisory, led by three student advisors and two faculty advisors, Santiago “Santi” Enrique and me. New international families will hear from Santi and me throughout the spring and summer before new international students begin their journey at Porter’s.
  • We assist in F1 visa processing for Porter’s and college, first year host family arrangements, airport shuttles and transportation during school breaks, summer storage, arrival and welcome receptions, da-to-day parent and student support, and everything in between.
  • We enjoy four dinner meetings a year with our international student population to make sure their needs are being met and to share our cultures and experiences of being in a new country.
  • We also engage our international parents through Admission, InterMission, and Advancement travel throughout the academic year, as we value our connections to families just as much as we do with our students.

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International students enrich the Porter’s community. It is our first priority to make the transition to Porter’s seamless and exciting for new families because we want Porter’s to feel like home.

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