Last summer, my son, Kiet Tuan Tran ’26, came to the United States for the first time to study at Gettysburg College. Before attending Gettysburg, Mr. Brad Lancaster, director of International Student Services, created a group for students in Vietnam to communicate with each other and exchange information about topics such as visas. I was very happy because it created a group of friends for my son before he arrived in Gettysburg.
When he arrived in the United States, my son and other international students were picked up by the College shuttle at Dulles International Airport. International Student Services provided support during the students’ travels and once they arrived at Gettysburg. That support also carried through to Orientation. During the first day of International Student Orientation, students could walk around campus and the beautiful small town of Gettysburg in the nice August weather.
When children are away from home, parents are most often worried about food, accommodations, and personal activities, but I am very relieved that Gettysburg has taken care of everything for my son:
- My son is studying computer science and has taken courses such as abstract mathematics and calculus. He’s studied with many faculty members, such as Mathematics Prof. Keir Lockridge, Mathematics Chair Beth Campbell Hetrick, and Computer Science Prof. Todd Neller, who have helped him a lot with his studies for the computer science major and provided guidance for which courses to take next and his future.
- Every day, my son takes pictures of the dishes served at Gettysburg College. The food is different from that of Asia, but the offerings are very diverse.
- He lives in a nice room. Common spaces in the residence halls, such as the bathroom and lounge, are kept clean. Campus buildings such as Musselman Library allow students such as my son to have a private, convenient place to study. He has a beautiful and safe campus to enjoy, which is only approximately two hours from Washington, D.C., by car.
- The College offers many clubs and activities for my son to join and a gym to enjoy (the John F. Jaeger Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Fitness). My son has played basketball and badminton, and he soon will play club volleyball. Gettysburg also has multicultural festivals and food festivals to connect students together in an environment where more than 40 cultures from other countries are represented.
When Mr. Lancaster, Ms. Danielle Wolfberg, and Mr. Zach de Besche ’22 came to Vietnam on April 9, our conversations affirmed that teachers really care about students and support students in and out of the classroom. Gettysburg College professors are like friends who share information about subjects and guide students in their paths. Gettysburg is where students can forge meaningful relationships, including with more than 32,000 alumni in the Gettysburg Network who can help students with internships and job opportunities.
My son is not alone at Gettysburg. We see Gettysburg as more than a school. We see it as a family.
Ha Kim Ngoc P’26 is the mother of Kiet Tuan Tran ’26, who came to Gettysburg from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
By Ha Kim Ngoc P'26
Photos courtesy of Ha Kim Ngoc P'26