International Impressions: New Views of an Old Campus

Kristie Chan ’16

I have only been at Groton for a little more than a week, and I already realize how much I’ve grown. When I first moved to Hong Kong from Vancouver, where I was born, I was shocked by the distinct differences between the two. Canada, with its sparsely populated countryside (4 people/km2), was the complete antithesis of Hong Kong (6,516 people/km2) in terms of both geography and culture, not to mention the different languages spoken (to this day, I am still absolutely useless at reading and writing Chinese).

Then I came here. Groton is an amalgamation of the two societies that are so very familiar to me. A bustling community with incredible diversity, Groton has the metropolitan feel of Hong Kong in that there are always people around, yet also incorporates the sprawling fields and friendly hello’s of Canada.

The immediate and sincere welcomes I’ve received have really helped me settle in. Though it is, and always will be, difficult to be half a world away from home, especially when I have to fly there and back for Thanksgiving, I feel that any 19+ hour flight, 12 hour time difference and inevitable jetlag is worth it, just to be back at Groton.

Surprisingly, I’ve matured so much (actually, any modicum of maturity would have been an improvement on my levels of sophistication before) through this past week and a half. I’ve overcome my phobia of all insects by catching a pregnant spider in Ecology, dressed up as a Who for Awkward Dance, defied gravity with my hair, and even went to sit-down dinner in proper semi-formal attire, which is more than my mom has ever managed to coerce me into. I managed to enjoy myself through every single moment of these experiences, despite having set out with a less-than-optimistic mindset. Groton has helped me become so much more than I was, and I hope that throughout the year, I will be able to continue to mature.

Hanna Kim ’17

Groton School has become my fourth home. My first home, Seoul, was a metropolis with geometric skyscrapers and people waiting for public transportation with earphones wedged in their ears. My second home, Auckland, perfectly juxtaposed the leisure of the beach, the lights of the city and the gardens of the suburbs. My third home, Shanghai, was a sprawling megalopolis, always giving new meanings to the word “modernity.”

It has only been a week since I have been here, but I am already homesick. Though I am thoroughly enjoying myself, Groton’s culture is very different from what I am used to, and I am slowly immersing myself into its bustling activity.

I have witnessed the wild thrill of many teenage girls spending hours getting ready for Awkward Dance. I have run along a quiet lake and through deep woods. I have caught bees inside kill jars without getting stung. I have eaten mac and cheese during check-in, and I have not used chopsticks to eat a meal in over two weeks. I have listened to the stories of wonderful people; all in the short space of a week.

The feeling of being a fifteen-hour plane ride away from home is hard for me to face, but Groton’s warm, inviting community has helped me find my place here.

Groton is a sincere, beautiful place. I feel more than lucky to be able to become a part of the School and to make Groton a part of my growing internationality. I hope to be able to say “I miss home and mean “I miss Groton.”

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