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Life as an International Student at Grove City College

Sometimes choosing to study in a place so far from home can be intimidating. Though it presents a unique set of challenges, it also creates amazing opportunities. For the international students at Grove City College (GCC), the experience is one of growth, exploration, community, and (of course) lots of fun.

Let’s Meet Some International Grovers!

Anastasia Gaponenko (left) and Thaddeus Woo (right) outside of Henry Buhl Library

Anastasia Gaponenko, a senior Electrical Engineering major, is from Moscow, Russia. She came to the US in high school and attended a Christian high school in Philadelphia. “A lot of kids from my high school went to Grove City because it’s like a famous Christian college.” It was through her friends that she ended up applying to Grove City!

Philippe Keita hails from Dakar, Senegal, and is a senior at GCC studying Computer Science. Philippe decided to pursue his bachelors in the U.S. because of the higher level of education and potential career opportunities. “I heard about Grove City College from church connections…in Senegal…I heard that they had a good computer science program, so I came here for that.”

Thaddeus Woo, another senior international student, is pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He made his way to the U.S. from Penang, Malaysia, and found Grove City through a family friend, “My mom’s friend introduced it to her…” he said, and after discovering that Grove City carried the degree that he was seeking, “…I switched my decision from Covenant [College] to Grove City College.”

A Glimpse of Life on Campus

At GCC, all students are encouraged to get involved on campus. For many international students, it’s the perfect way to get to know fellow students and build valuable skills. You have the freedom to make your four years here your own and it’s easy to do with so many different organizations and activities to choose from.

Whether it is intramural sports, academic organizations, clubs, campus jobs, or social groups like fraternities and sororities, there is freedom to pursue your interests, or try out something new! For Thaddeus, he found a job on campus in Media Services, helping other students with their computers and technology.

Philippe found ways to make friends and have an impact on campus through his housing group (the Rhos) and different clubs. “I’m president of the Men’s Activities Board,” Phillipe says, which is a campus organization working to create “community engaging events open to all male students” (

Annika has also taken leadership roles in the organizations she has participated in at Grove City. “Last year I was the president of the Physics Club,” she says, “…my freshman year I was involved with the Women’s Society of Engineers…it definitely contributed to my future job search.”


Advice for Future International Students

While looking at schools, especially if you are considering one outside of your home country, our fellow international students offered some valuable advice It is important to “…know what Grove City is before you come here,” said Philippe. The technical aspects of how to apply to a particular college are important. Still, it’s also important to learn about the culture of the campus, and their values, and consider if they are ones that you could see yourself being a part of!

It is important to lean into the tightly-knit community of GCC especially when you are new to campus as an international student. “Having a smaller community can be nice,” again, Philippe.  “You see the same people (students and teachers) so it’s easier to interact with them.”

While there are plenty of things going on at GCC. Things are more spread out from campus when you get into town. Some of Annika’s advice, especially if you need something from the store, was to ask around if people are making a trip. You can even ask a friend to take you if they have a car!

College is about more than just getting your degree. It provides a chance to create lasting memories and friends in a community that supports your every step. At Grove City College, we hope that you can join in enriching our community like Anastasia, Philippe, and Thaddeus have.


For more information about Grove City College, and to apply, visit and click “Apply” (information for international students is listed on the right, under “How To Apply”).

Are you curious about the process of finding an internship as an international student and want some tips? Take a look at the post “How to Expand Your Career Opportunities as an International Student at Grove City College” by Evenine Paultre.

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