The university welcomed two sophomores from the University of Wollongong (UOW), a public research university in southern Australia, to campus in an exchange program for the Fall 2019 semester. Sophomores Sam Attard and Kimia Rahmannia are part of the third group of exchange students from UOW to study at Colgate for a semester.

According to Martin Wong, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Global and Local Initiatives, Colgate decided to deepen its relationship with UOW to offer students the opportunity to study at a small liberal arts school. 

“It is also an opportunity to further enrich Colgate’s campus and classrooms,” Wong said.

Neither Attard nor Rahmannia had any prior knowledge of Central New York, but when their biology professor offered scholarships to study at Colgate University, they were both surprisingly quick to accept. They left a coastal city for a rural village, both excited and nervous about 

the unknown.

Prior to Attard’s arrival, he was most looking forward to a change. In Australia, Attard lives at home with his parents and commutes two hours each day to attend university. At Colgate, he lives in a house with three other students — who he met only about a week ago — and says it has already been “a really incredible new experience.”

Rahmannia was most excited to meet new people and to learn about a culture different from her own. And yet, these changes also gave her pause.

“I was super worried about these things in case I wouldn’t fit in or make friends,” Rahmannia said.

However, in hindsight, Rahmannia now regrets being so nervous. Both Rahmannia and Attard rave about the Colgate community. They have already made close friends and felt welcomed by the entire student body.

“Everyone has been so lovely to me, which really helps with the transition,” Attard said.

Rahmannia agreed she has been welcomed by the Colgate community.

“I’ve made the most amazing group of friends who should definitely come and study at Wollongong,” Rahmannia said.

Attard attributes his instant acclimation to the International Student Orientation.

“Everyone was either in the same boat as you, studying as an international student or had been previously. It really made such an impact on my time here,” Attard said.

Attard and Rahmannia agree that the biggest difference between Colgate and UOW is sheer size. UOW enrolls about ten times more students than Colgate does. At Wollongong, students attend classes with about 30 students in their first and second year.

“Coming to classes with only 10-20 people is a bit crazy to me, but at the same time I’m really enjoying the classes and feel like I’m learning a lot more,” Attard said.

Rahmannia discussed the role of teachers in the transition.

“The teachers have a lot more time to get to know everyone and build a relationship with the students,” Rahmannia said.

They are eager to become fully immersed in all that the campus has to offer — from academics to social events to snow, which Attard has only seen twice in his life.

 

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