Cultures Cross at Cross Street International House
For many students, a semester abroad is a chance to get out of tiny Middletown, Conn., escape the Wesleyan bubble, and get immersed in a new environment. This year, seven international students, who are all living under the same roof at 210 Cross Street, did their own study abroad, and travelled to our campus for a semester or full academic year to experience a different culture from their own.
The housemates represent countries across the world. Lars Schlereth and Silvio Bussolera come from Germany; Lucas Hansen hails from Brazil; Tatiana Llaguno and Pedro Sanjurjo-Hanck are natives of Spain; Paul Clesham comes from Ireland, and Camille Bordet-Sturla was living in France before she came to Wesleyan. The students took many different paths to end up on our campus.
Hansen was granted a scholarship to participate in an exchange program called the Ciencia sem Fronteiras, or Science Without Borders. The program, which is primarily funded by the Brazilian government, tries to bring technological advancements to Brazil by sending undergraduate and graduate students to work with scientific professionals in institutions and top universities around the world.
Schlereth is also participating in an exchange program, and Bordet-Sturla decided to come to the United States because she wanted to improve her English. She was drawn to Wesleyan in particular because of its liberal-arts approach to education.
“I wanted to go to Wes because of the excellent reputation of the artistic fields, especially the film studies,” she said.
She has found the University a refreshing change from school in France.
“I love my experience at Wes,” Bordet-Sturla said. “I think that also the possibility I have to study only arts classes this year—contrary to my previous university years in France—is a great chance that I want to enjoy as much as possible.”
While at the University, the residents of 210 Cross will study many different subjects. Bussolera is majoring in English, Cleshman is majoring in music, and Bordet-Sturla is majoring in history. Hansen, who is majoring in chemistry, is already doing graduate research with Chemistry Professor Stewart Novick on the study of diatomic molecules via Microwave-Fourier Transform Spectroscopy.
Most of the students didn’t know each other before they arrived at Wesleyan at the end of August, but they’re now a lot closer after a few weeks as housemates.
Since the start of the semester, they’ve become even more of a part of the overall Wesleyan community by taking classes and getting involved in extracurricular activities. Schlereth hopes to join the fencing team, Bordet-Sturla is planning to join a dancing group, and Hansen is part of the club soccer team.
Some of them already have jobs—Llaguno who works at the Usdan University Center—and more plan to interview for on-campus positions. Additionally, most of them plan to put their expertise from home to use by teaching their native language to Wesleyan students, either by acting as peer tutors or as teacher’s assistants.