Students enjoy a very intense social life as there are many campus events and activities to get involved in.
Because of the size of the college, you will have an opportunity to get to know many students. Even if you do not know everybody,many ‘familiar faces’ will greet you as you walk around campus.
You will have a chance to attend theater performances in Gibson Theater or act in at least one play, have lunch with your favorite professor (yes, they will know you by your first name!), shoot a
game of pool in our Hodson Student Center, support our sports teams as they face the competition (or be supported by the other students!), take a stroll down to Chester River to enjoy the beauty of the scenery, flip a burger at one of our picnics.
Here at Washington College we have many traditions that every member of the Washington College Community looks forward to each year!
August: All Campus Picnic
The Sunday before the first day of classes in August, everyone gathers for food and music. It’s a good place to meet some of your professors and to make some new friends. There are fireworks too!
Homecoming occurs at the end of September, with events ranging from sports games to a dance. Alums of Washington College return to visit their alma mater, thus the term “Homecoming.”Everyone shows their school spirit during the weekend!
February: George Washington’s Birthday Ball
Who doesn’t enjoy a birthday party? Awesome music and a professionally executed theme, Birthday Ball is the highlight of the year. Some people go all out for this huge formal affair that
brings together students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends.
April: War on the Shore
Washington College is serious about lacrosse, and usually a serious contender for the national title. No game draws more fans than this one, pitting the Shoremen against their Eastern Shore rival and nemesis, Salisbury University. This year War on the Shore will be held at Washington College!
May: Spring Fling
Every May the Student Events Board plans a huge festival on the Campus Green to alleviate the stress of Spring semester finals! The event features live music, student poetry readings, fun inflatables, a giant slide, a mechanical bull ride, and other attractions.
As an International Student, when you first come to a new environment, you will have to adjust to certain aspects. The process of adaptation is usually preceded by what is called culture shock.Culture shock is not a sudden process, as you may expect, and the degree of the ‘shock’ differs from person to person. Some people may adjust more rapidly than others may.
When you come to the United States, you bring with you your values, your ideals, your customs, in a word, your culture. Here, however, you may find that people may not necessarily hold the same values as you. That does not mean that your values or theirs are inadequate, it is just that they are different. Still, you are the one who has to adjust, and this is where you could encounter some difficulties. Some symptoms of culture shock may be: homesickness, boredom, avoidance of social settings, fatigue, difficulty with coursework, sleep disturbances, feelings of loneliness, and hostility towards the host culture.
Nevertheless, you are not the first one, nor the last one to go through this natural process of adaptation to new settings, and your friends here will help you all the way! You just need to acknowledge the differences and to try to understand them. As time goes by, the effects of culture shock will fade away. If you are concerned that you will lose your own culture, think again. Learning a new culture doesn’t erase the previous one, but it makes you better understand it and possibly appreciate it more. In addition, a new culture may open new perspectives that were ignored in the settings of your own culture.
When communicating across cultures, make sure you listen carefully, speak simply and explicitly, ask for explanations if you feel you do not understand the issue, know yourself, and finally make sure you are alert for different meanings.
Tolerance and Discrimination
U.S. Americans highly value tolerance and nondiscrimination. Acceptance of others regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability and other characteristics that make up who we are is an important aspect of being part of the Washington College Community. You need to be aware that the law does not condone acts of discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and any other kind of discrimination. Because Washington College has such a diverse student body, you will have the opportunity to understand many cultures and to be in close contact with people from all over the world. All your friendships will be based on tolerance and understanding.
Different organizations or persons at the college can help you if you are faced with acts of discrimination or intolerance against you. In such cases, you should contact:
- Public Safety 410-778-7810
- Dean of the College 410-778-7752
- Health Services 410-778-7261
- Sibel Ahi, Assistant Director of the Global Education Office 410-778-7762
- Alex Levy, Study Abroad Coordinator at the Global Education Office 410-810-8498
- Jean-Pierre Laurenceau-Medina, Director of the Office of Intercultural Affairs 410-810-8465
- Sarah Feyerherm,Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students 410-778-7228
Invitations and Conversations
Usually when Americans invite you somewhere, they want you to confirm your participation. Your candid response is greatly appreciated and saying “No” will not harm the relationship with the people who invited you. Make sure you understand what you are being invited to. On written invitations you may find the notations RSVP (which is French for Répondez s’il vous plaît) or ASAP (which stands for As Soon As Possible). Small talk is preferred to silence, when it comes to conversation. You should not be surprised if you find U.S. Americans talking on various subjects as the weather, clothing, tests, or parties when there is nothing important to be said. You will be able to meet people with whom you can talk about important things going in your life and the world. It just takes time.
Clubs and Organizations
Students at Washington College are involved in many extracurricular activities. There are over 82 clubs and organizations on campus and you can learn more about these clubs here. The various clubs and organizations on campus provide the students with a great opportunity to meet and share experiences and thoughts.
International students studying at Washington College for four years can pledge a fraternity or sorority. Exchange students are not on-campus long enough to be a part of these organizations.