Admissions Blog: Life as an international student

Posted on November 15, 2021 by Dana Poleski

Sanjita Pokhrel ’25 Sanjita Pokhrel ’25

Today is the start of International Education Week, a nationwide celebration that promotes international understanding and builds support for educational exchange. This week on our Facebook and Instagram, we’re highlighting the experiences of international students studying here and students and alumnae who’ve ventured beyond the U.S. for school and work.

Here, Sanjita Pokhrel ’25 from Nepal shares what it’s like living and studying at Sweet Briar.

What made you choose Sweet Briar?

I heard about Sweet Briar College from EducationUSA in Nepal. One of my alumni in the Opportunity Funds Program is also studying here. So, I Googled the College. As I was looking for the small sized liberal arts college, Sweet Briar perfectly fit that criteria. Then, I started talking with admission staff at Sweet Briar. They replied to my email enthusiastically, which made me feel special. So, I feel like I will be valued and nurtured here. After coming here, I am happy to say that my instinct was right. The Sweet Briar community is close knit and amazing.

What are you studying?

I am a first-year, and I try to take as many diverse classes as possible. I want to graduate with a double major and am certain that I will major in mathematics. However, I am yet to decide on my second major.

How has Sweet Briar supported you as an international student?

 As an international student, I was certain that I would have a completely different college experience than a domestic student. Luckily, Sweet Briar understands this. The transition from Nepal to Sweet Briar was not easy. Fortunately, I can always go to the student life office and share my problems. Personally, I feel Sweet Briar values international students. Last month, they held a meeting with all the international students to discuss our transition and experiences so far. At the meeting, we talked about how to make Sweet Briar more international student friendly. Such interactions make me feel included and cared for. Similarly, my professors understand that the education system in Nepal is completely different from the United States.

What international student life organizations and activities are you involved in?

I serve on the diversity and inclusion committee and am the representative for the Cultural Club. I also am a student assistant in the technology center.

 What is your favorite part of international student life at Sweet Briar?

One of the best parts of my Sweet Briar journey so far is the group of international friends I have here. They are from different countries like India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Hungary and the like. I am always curious about their culture. Each day I get to learn something new. This is really amazing!

And, the American students are excited to know about my culture and how things work in my country. I also want to add one more thing. As an international student, I enjoy the privilege of asking so many questions about anything. I feel happy when my friends genuinely try to answer my questions and clear up any confusion.

What is your best piece of advice to an incoming Sweet Briar international student?

To incoming international students: I understand that applying to college is overwhelming and you have a lot of dilemmas. Trust me, everything you are doing is worth it. The hectic months of the application process are making you bold to face every challenge in your college life strongly. Take this as an opportunity to reflect on yourself.

If you get stuck anywhere in the application process, contact the admissions office at Sweet Briar, they would be happy to help you. You are not alone. In fact, it is the way to show to the College that you are interested.

Lastly, I would advise you to spend time with your loved ones as much as possible. If there is one place you really want to visit in your home country, just go there and make beautiful memories.