White Mountain School in New Hampshire has numerous international students, creating a diverse student body and a unique multicultural experience.
John Maher: Hi, I'm John Maher. I'm here today with, Rohan Barthelmy, a student at White Mountain School, a private college prep, day and boarding school in New Hampshire. Today we're talking about international students at White Mountain School in New Hampshire. Welcome, Rohan.
Rohan Barthelmy: Thank you for having me, John.
How International Students Find U.S. Boarding Schools
John: Sure. Rohan, where are you from and how did you find The White Mountain School?
Rohan: I'm from Saint Lucia, a tiny island in the Caribbean. How did I find out about WMS? Well, the school I attended prior to WMS hosts international boarding schools for their juniors as options to explore when they graduate from the establishment that they're at presently. The White Mountain School was invited to speak. They presented, and I fell in love with the whole idea of The White Mountain School. I was in my last year of high school basically. Graduation was a year away and I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing with my life. And then The White Mountain School comes along and I decided, "I'm going to drop out of this school and basically go back to high school." Because the experience offered at WMS is something I've never heard of before, never had any experience with, and safe to say, I've no regrets.
How to Apply to a U.S. Boarding School
Rohan: Well, it wasn't that bad. WMS made it really, really easy on me. Took the SSATs, wrote some essays, filled in an application form and hit send. Everything was online. Just scanned in my transcripts from my old school, sent in recommendation letters. Very, very, very simple for any tech savvy young person, which is like everybody about the age of 21 nowadays.
Rohan: It's a really simple process. You check a few boxes and click send.
The Experience of Being an International Student at White Mountain School
John: Right. What is it like to be an international student at White Mountain School? Are there other international students here?
Rohan: I think The White Mountain School prides itself on the diversity of our student body. [We have] students from, in no exaggeration, all over the world. From as far as you can think to right in the U.S. Being an international student at WMS is a different type of experience. Rubbing shoulders with so many different cultures and their practices. We are given a night to ourselves as international students to showcase our heritage. International night [and we] cook for the entire school.
We may have some cultural displays on for the entire school. It's mandatory that everyone goes. It's a really nice experience to see the wealth of diversity that just lives at WMS. If you were to go into our new library for instance, we have flags that line the walls, and a flag is for every student represented who has passed through the halls of WMS. And it's safe to say we have about 40 flags. So 40 different countries.
John: That's a nice touch.
Rohan: Yes. It's a really nice thing to see.
White Mountain School Community
John: How well do you feel like you're accepted here at The White Mountain School? Do you really feel like you're a part of the school community?
Rohan: Yes. WMS might as well be family. When you come in, you have an advisor who's as close to you as your parent for the year. Being on a first-name basis with everyone is a culture shock for me coming from a school where everyone was Miss and Ma'am and professor and doctor, to my French teacher who is Jennifer. And I know Jennifer. I know her story. It's a different type of thing where you share with your teachers and they share with you. We find WMS is a very open community.
John: As an international student at a boarding school in New Hampshire, what do you think that you bring to the White Mountain School in terms of academics and culture?
Rohan: I think I bring a new way of looking at a lot of issues. I was not raised in an American schooling system. Saint Lucia's School is just something that's based off of the British, a lot more rigid and structured. And I believe that I bring a certain level of structure to the people I interact with. There's just ways that I'm used to doing certain things. I just think that other people should be exposed to that as well. For instance, I live in an all-boys dorm, and the way we go to school, very tucked-in, pressed shirts and pants with seams. And you find a lot of boys don't know how to tie a tie. To me, that's like, "Okay. That's what I'm going to share with you. How to tie a tie."
John: Right. But you ought to know this. This is a skill that you need to know. I'm going to help you with that.
Rohan: Yes. Our schooling system in Saint Lucia is based off of being a traditional type of British, type of man with a certain look. And sometimes that look is necessary when living in the US as well. I help students with that.
John: Businesses are like that. The business culture is very much like that.
Rohan: I think I bring that level of put togetherness at WMS.
Arts & Dance
John: What about your love of the arts and dance and things like that?
Rohan: Dance in Saint Lucia is not dance in the U.S., which is different as well. We're based off an Afro-Caribbean type music. And I think I bring-- I love my music. And I brought my music right alongside me to WMS, and the community was so open to it. Students are now listening to artists that I introduced to them that are only in the Caribbean, that they've never heard of before. And I'm listening to artists that I didn't know existed before. There is that cultural exchange at WMS that's just part of the whole atmosphere of the school.
John: Yes. That's something that most high school students in most countries, I think, don't really get to experience. You're usually in school with people from your country and with your culture. So that's really something special that I think that you're able to bring to The White Mountain School, and that The White Mountain School in return can give to you is that multicultural diversity that they have here.
John: All right. Well, it's great to talk to you about that, Rohan. Thank you very much. For more information, you can visit the school's website at whitemountain.org or call (603) 444-2928.