A Look at The Gunnery’s International Student Body

4 mins read

By Lou Etoundi Ntsama ’21

The Hall of Flags, displaying every country from which a current student is from. Image by Lou Etoundi Ntsama ’21

This year at The Gunnery, we have international students representing seventeen countries around the world: Korea, China, Cameroon, Vietnam, Spain, Dominican Republic, Russia, Hong Kong, Japan, El Salvador, Bahamas, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Bahrain, Cyprus, and Canada.

Having students from all over the world adds to the diversity, the pride, and the beauty of The Gunnery community. We at The Gunnery value our diverse student body and what this diversity brings to campus. The Highlander interviewed some of these students to learn more about them and to see how they ended up in rural Connecticut. Here are their answers:

From Cameroon: Noé Enoumedi ‘20

“Au moment où je suis arrivé à l’école, j’ai directement aimé. C’est une école agréable et j’ai le sentiment d’être apprécié par tout le monde. J’ai rencontré des personnes aimantes ce qui est assez différent de mon ancienne école au Cameroun. Ca faisait très longtemps mais je prends enfin plaisir à aller à l’école.”

“From  the moment I arrived at school, I immediately liked it. It is a pleasant school and I have the feeling of being appreciated by everybody. I met loving people and that’s very different from my old school in Cameroon. It had been a long time since I enjoyed going to school, but now I do.”

From Dominican Republic: Estela Jana Salcedo ’21

“Para mí, ser un estudiante internacional para conocer a otras personas, descubrir una nueva cultura y conocer cosas nuevas. Obviamente, siento nostalgia porque extraño a mi familia.”

“For me, I decided to become an international student to meet other new people, discover a new culture and explore new ventures. Of course, I’m very homesick because I miss my family.”

From China: Jingyi “Linda” Fan ’21


“Classes are difficult, especially at the beginning. It’s also hard to remember names because I met so many people in a very small amount of time. I also had difficulties adapting myself to the environment because it’s different from my home. I’m also a little bit homesick, but with time, things will go well because there are many people who are willing to help me. Also, my teachers are very fun.”

From Australia: Grace Robinson ‘21

“[Adapting] was pretty hard at the beginning because there is a big time difference. I also have the feeling of belonging to a family but at the same moment being different. Everybody is very helpful and nice.”

From Bahamas: Sasha Pastoukhova Valdez ‘22

“People are very welcoming and interested to know where you are from and it’s cool. I’m very homesick, especially considering the landscape: at home, I had the sea, and it was the most beautiful place in the world for me.”

From Germany: Coco Shweyer ‘21 and Mara Thomas ‘22

“Am Anfang war es sehr seltsam, weil es ganz anders ist. Menschen sind nett, aber Menschen sind nett, also gewöhnen wir uns leicht daran. Die Schüler sind alle sehr nett aber trotzdem war es anfangs schwer sich so richtig anzufreunden. Ich hatte anfangs Schwierigkeiten mit dem Hausaufgaben weil ich mir zuerst alles übersetzen muss aber es wird besser. Aber es wird besser. Ich komme anderen Schülern näher. Ich habe nie Heimweh, also hatte ich keine Probleme damit. Mittlerweile habe ich mich aber komplett eingelebt.” 

“People are nice, so we get used to it. The students are all very nice but at first it was hard to make friends. I first had trouble with my homework because I have to translate everything, but it has gotten better. I’m getting closer to other students, and I’m never homesick, so I didn’t have a problem with it. And now I’m completely settled in.”

From Japan: Taiken Matsuzawa ’23

“私の人生はすべて、日本の環境に住んでいました。 最初は意外でしたが、私は気に入っています。世界中のさまざまな人々に会うことは、私に良い影響を与えます。 しかし、私は日本料理が食べられないのは明らかです。”

“All my life, I lived in Japan. At the beginning, it was kind of a shock, but I like it: meeting different kinds of people from all over the world has had a great effect on me. But obviously, I miss Japanese food.”

From Spain: Ignacio Irastorza ‘22

“The Gunnery es muy diferente de mi escuela. Pero no cambia el hecho de que me gusta. Creo que es una oportunidad para estar aquí. Sin embargo, a veces, extraño la comida española y también a mi familia.”

“The Gunnery is very different from my school. But it doesn’t change the fact that I like it. I think it’s a great opportunity to be here. Yet, sometimes, I miss Spanish food and my family.”

All of these perspectives let us gain a little perspective on the international student experience, understand their struggles, and think about the challenges and the excitement that comes with being far from home.

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