Through the Student Lens – An international student’s Wheaton experience

What is it like to be an international student attending Wheaton? How do faculty and staff, including President Hanno, make international students feel welcome? Meet an international student making the most of the Wheaton experience and take a look Through the Student Lens.

Dolma Tsering Lam ’22

Major: Film and New Media
Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

What activities are you involved in at Wheaton, and could you talk about your overall experience at Wheaton?
I have helped organize the International Bazaar, Lunar New Year, and Diwali through Global Education, the Asian Student Association (ASA), and South Asian Student Initiative (SASI). I get joy in sharing my culture with my friends and celebrating Wheaton’s diverse community. I enjoy being a member of Trybe Dance where we all come together, dance and share good energy. Last semester I did Wheaton’s Semester in the City Program and interned at Belmont World Film. I had first-hand learning experience on how it feels to navigate a film festival. These experiences have helped me develop my personal and professional identity and I am very grateful for who I am becoming.

What has it been like for you being an international student during COVID-19? Where have you found support?
I have been blessed with amazing friends here at Wheaton. They have been my support system and have helped me cope with my homesickness. Global Education is always sending love and checking in on us. The Wheaton Counseling Center has always been welcoming whenever we want to talk. Professors are always super-understanding and willing to sit down to have one-on-one chats. It is so comforting knowing that there are people looking out for you especially when you are far away from home.

Can you describe what it was like on campus last summer, and are you planning to live on campus this summer? What does Wheaton do to assist students who are on campus for the summer?
Wheaton has been very kind to us international students. I was able to stay here when I couldn’t go home. The faculty went out of their way to help us get groceries during hard times. The Center for Social Justice and Community Impact were very generous with their food pantry hours. Members of the faculty and my friends offered their places when my flight got canceled. This summer, I am planning to go home. My first flight was canceled so my friend invited me to stay with her until my next flight, which is soon 🙂

Could you talk about your interactions with President Hanno and how you think his presidency shaped the student experience at Wheaton? What do you think students will miss when President Hanno departs Wheaton?
My first interaction with President Hanno was during Orientation week. It was my first few days in the United States. I was really excited about everything. I was talking with everyone and had a lot of energy. One of the people I spoke with was President Hanno. He was very friendly and not intimidating at all. Coming from a place where people in authority were intimidating, it was really refreshing to see him mingling with the students and see his cheerful personality. He also invited me and two other students to a baseball game. That day, I learned a lot about the Red Sox and Boston culture. President Hanno really embraces the family aspect of the Wheaton community. We will all miss his friendly energy, the way he always stops to have conversations with us, and we will miss the days when he brought ice cream to the Dimple.

With the announcement of Wheaton’s current plan to have classes in person in the fall, what will you be looking forward to on campus?
This fall, I am trying to study abroad but I am excited to come back and see everyone out in the Dimple, enjoying our pretty campus, taking in the sun and having food with their friends. I have done this so many times with my friends and cannot wait to do it again when I come back.

Through the Student Lens

Dolma is just one of the many talented students here at Wheaton. As parents and guardians, you are an integral part of our community. Through the Student Lens brings the campus to you, as seen through the eyes of our students, the many roles they play and experiences they gain during the time here at Wheaton.