Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

Verba Volant, Scripta Manent

The Hill News

International student socials forge new bonds across communities

Media: Hill Diversity Instagram
New international students together in the Warner Center for the international student social. These meet-and-greet events were held multiple times throughout the year with a large turnout.

During the spring term of 2022, international student socials were officially introduced as an event organized by Helen Qiu, Director of International Students and Programming, with the international student ambassadors to provide a safe space for new international students to come and get help or relax. 

Following its success, Qiu has continued to host the international student social this year as well.

Qiu said that she had been inspired by last year’s event to help new students adjust to the Hill School, where students would casually meet with the Deans Office and come with their inquiries to a generally informal and welcoming environment. 

“I actually got this idea from the Dean’s Office. Last year they had something called “Donut with the Deans” during the flex period to get to know the new students. So, why don’t I do something similar to get to know and reconnect to all of the new international students?” Qiu said.

This social has been happening during Thursday flex periods in Qiu’s office, located in the student center for all to stop by. According to Qiu, plans for bigger socials in the winter and spring term have been considered. 

“At this point, I’d like to keep it small and nice as the new students are still getting to know each other. But then maybe throughout the year, let’s say, winter term or spring term maybe I could use a different venue and have much larger events,” Qiu said.

Angela Jin ’24, an international student ambassador since the beginning of the international student social’s creation, also provided an additional perspective to the socials.

Jin hoped that these meetings would help assuage homesickness and build a sense of community among international students.

“I hope that they could have a space to relax, to go outside of their comfort zones to reach out to more people, and expand their social group as perhaps this interaction could be the start to a lifelong friendship.” Jin said.

The students that have attended the international student social also seem to have fairly positive views on their experience as shown by the response given by Ben Choi ’27 and Shinyu Zhang ’27, both students that have experienced the international student social.

“The event was very welcoming and the organizers did a great job of planning ahead and doing so much with little time.” Choi stated, “I would come again if given the opportunity.”

“I enjoyed being around students close to my age as well as being able to speak Chinese, and it was still relieving to know that I’m not the only one from thousands of miles away,” Zhang stated. 

All in all, the international student social has gained a favorable reputation as an extremely helpful and safe space for new international students to come to for help or to use as a free space where everyone is accepted.

Given the success of the program, other students expressed a desire to participate in the future.

“I would love to go to the international social in the following terms. Not only is it refreshing to be among a different group of people, but being able to speak my native language also helps me feel closer to home,” Zhang concluded. 

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