Greetings from New Hampshire - The Granite State!
My name is Shu Wen. I was born and raised in Borneo in a little town called Bintulu before heading off to college in the US. I am currently a junior (whew, time flies!) at Colby-Sawyer College, a small liberal arts college in central New Hampshire that’s about one and a half hours away from Boston.
I remembered back then, prior to my departure from Kuala Lumpur, I had braced myself for the irksome admission process into the US. Passport. Checked. F-1 student visa. Checked. I-20 form. Checked. I-94 form. Checked. Custom declaration form. Checked. The immigration offer gained me an easy entry after inspecting all my documents and asking about my intention of coming to the US.
Suzanna and Megan were waving frantically at me when I stepped down from Dartmouth Coach. I stood aghast on the spot. They gave me an affectionate hug. I was astonished by the warm hospitality I received the moment I stepped onto the land of freedom. “Is it winter still?” I blurted out a silly question and they burst into laughter. I threw on layers and layers of clothing everyday during my first week in New London. I could never get used to the cold weather here.
A view of New London, New Hampshire, where Colby-Sawyer College is located (Creative commons photo by Flickr user Bev Norton)
I'd always known that I never wanted to live in a small town for the rest of my life so I took a gamble and crossed the Pacific Ocean to the foreign land that I had always wanted to be a part of. I was amused as Colby-Sawyer College is beyond my expectations. The college is just like a big aquarium with fishes of various types and colors. It was an amazing experience to make friends with people from other countries throughout the world. A small United Nations, I would say, is developing in the college. We spoke our languages and shared interesting facts about our countries. Occasionally, we cracked up when we couldn’t pronounce other languages properly.
Indeed, New London is a tranquil and serene countryside place. The tour around the town area was an eye-opening experience for me. This was my first time holding maple leaves in my hands, to a farm with beautiful barns, hearing the chimes of the church bells, tasting apple and cinnamon, and seeing the trees changing colors gradually. I was overwhelmed by the stunning sceneries and the great sight here.
But frankly, I didn’t relish the regular student orientation. I had a few bumps to befriend the local students as they just mingled among themselves. I was hesitating to start a conversation with them because bashfulness tends to be one of the characteristics of Asian people. However, with time I polished my English speaking skills and regained confidence to blend in the community.
Now as a junior, I become a tour guide, as well as the “Peer Academic Consultant” (isn’t that such a cool title? I feel so important!). That’s really just a fancy way of saying that I’m a teaching assistant. I also get to act as a "Senator", meaning I’m learning all the ins and outs of the student government. I mention all this (whew!) to show the flexibility in the kinds of opportunities a small liberal arts college could provide.
Perhaps that's enough of that for the moment. Even I am getting sick of myself!
All good things,