Six international first-year students received digital cameras this summer to help chronicle their journey to campus. For most of the students, it was their first trip to the United States. The six students captured more than 30 gigabytes of photos and video from their hometowns and their travels to rural Hamilton, N.Y.

Among the images of the students’ hometowns, each unique with their own vibrant culture and history, are touching family moments; a heart-warming goodbye from a loving grandmother; a farewell to the family dog; and a religious ceremony to bless one student before traveling to his new home away from home.

“I am the first born, and I am the first to come to America, and I am the first to come to college,” said Wilson Ochar ’17, of Nairobi, Kenya. “My parents are very proud…”

They are not alone, of course. International students, from 24 countries,  make up 11 percent of the Class of 2017. Dual citizens represent an additional 17 countries. They all are members of a record-breaking class for Colgate, both in terms of academic strength and overall diversity of enrolled students.

“We must offer all of our students the opportunity to live and work with people who come from different backgrounds,” said Karen Giannino, senior associate dean of admission. “There’s no substitute for the exchange of ideas that happens face to face.”

Watch the video above to follow the six international students on their Colgate journey, learn a little about their hopes and hometowns, and hear the universal message from family members who urge them to follow their dreams as they travel to Hamilton, N.Y., from places like Ethiopia, Hong Kong, and Kenya.

The following students took part in the camera project:

  • Abeneazer Chafamo, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Maria Dorin-Shayo, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Steven Huang, Dalian, China
  • Maria Isabel Kubabom, Accra, Ghana
  • Wilson Ochar, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Julia Zschiesche, Hong Kong, China

First-year International Students