We have collected hundreds of personal narratives from students, alumni, faculty, and staff that explain the merits and strengths of Oberlin through the eyes of those who have experienced it firsthand.
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On moving to China

Beth Rogers ’07
“I struggled in basic conversation, couldn’t communicate emotion, couldn’t deal with the subtleties of the language at all, and couldn’t read anything ... in some ways I think I re-discovered the...

On studying abroad

Sam Good ’09
“I have dozens of hilarious stories that encapsulate a year of cross-cultural misunderstandings with a group of genuinely caring people who went out of their way on an hourly basis to make sure I was...

On language as a gateway

Brendan Nuse ’17
“I am still a little surprised that a job as a translator of standardized test instructions ended up teaching me about Ohio history, but, then again, my experiences with Chinese at Oberlin have...

On her semester in Ghana

Sarah Frank ’09
“Sankofa means “return to your roots.” Sankofa is an important concept, because in order to grow, you cannot always move forward. You must go backwards, and go home, in order to make the distance...

On study abroad

Caitlin O'Neill ’11
“Even though there were days when I missed my family and friends so much that it hurt, days when I thought that another rainy day would drive me up the wall, I would not trade my experience for the...

On an eye-opening class

Sarah Willette ’16
“I’ve found during my time at Oberlin that, when faced with the crossroads between easy ignorance and more strenuously acquired knowledge, most Obies choose the hard but ultimately more rewarding...

On solidifying cross-generational friendships

Eleanor Van Buren ’17
“From the first reply I received from Francine Schutzman ’67, I knew we were on to something.”

On falling in love in Russia

Stephanie Patterson ’07
“I brought my dictionary everywhere, but sometimes I was amazed that two people could connect in a way, especially with humor, that didn’t always involve complete cognitive understanding.”

On Oberlin’s life preparations

Jacob Myers ’12
“Oberlin’s crash course in cultural understanding gave me open eyes, open ears, and an open heart, and at the end of the year, that’s what helped me learn the most from my own experience.”

On studying in London with David Walker

Sze Foong ’99
“Threading it all together were the conversations gently led by David about and around these plays, supplemented by talk of poems, novels, museum visits, and films, and from these emerged the...

On studying abroad

Jessica DePaz ’14
“I embraced that experience because it helped me learn a lot more about myself. I found my voice, my interest in learning different languages, and my interest in teaching.”

On touring with his sextet

Terence Hsieh ’12
“Friendship is the bottom-most rung on the ladder of music: the best jam sessions, the best solos, and the best memories are shared on stage with people who can lose themselves in each other.”

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