Studying Chemistry and Learning English Delights Student at Dartmouth College

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Having the opportunity to take her high school courses in English was the initial introduction for Olga Karagiaridi to consider coming to the United States and going to Dartmouth College.

“I was born in Kazakhstan.  It is a country in Middle Asia, former USSR Republic and when I was ten my parents moved to Greece and that is where they currently live and that is where I went to middle school and high school,” she says.  So when I was in high school they opened an international baccalaureate class in my high school, which is a type of classes where you can take all your subjects in English and it usually prepares you to study abroad,” she says.

“At first I found the idea of taking all my subjects in English interesting that is why I enrolled there. I also wanted to study abroad so I can experience living in a very different culture, from Greece from where I was brought up and I thought it would be real exciting so that is how I ended up here, I just applied to six universities that I found online and I didn’t know anything about the campuses or how life is there and I ended up at Dartmouth.”

Olga says being able to take Chemistry courses to see if that really was the major for her before fully committing to it is yet another reason studying in the states as an international student really was for her.  “I was pretty fascinated in Sciences from high school.  I was very much into Biology and Chemistry in general, but I was also very interested in Literature and foreign languages so I wasn’t very sure if I wanted to get involved in only Sciences when I got to college,” she says.

“That is another good reason why I decided to go to the states.  When you study in Greece you have to choose your bachelor degree straight once you are out of high school and you would be pushed to ingest a bachelor’s degree and you would only be taking Chemistry courses for the next four years,” she says.

“While once I got to Dartmouth I had the chance to try my hand at Chemistry and discovered through the four years that I actually like it and at the same time not miss out on liberal arts education and take courses in other fields.  So at first I was a little bit intimidated because the level of Chemistry here is very high we have a very challenging program in Chemistry which sometime made me feel disconnected from it, but I am really glad I stuck through it and I can say that I really enjoy Chemistry. 

When it comes to international students going to Dartmouth, Olga says there has recently been an increase of international students at the college.  She says there is also a new policy that will affect international students in a positive way.  “We have had quite an explosion this year.  The class of 2011 at Dartmouth had I guess rounding one hundred international students, maybe more than one hundred international students and taking into account the whole 2011 class body of students so ten percent of the class was international which is quite an achievement,” she says.

“So I think Dartmouth is becoming more international actually we just came out with a new policy that really helps international students.  Dartmouth became a need program for international students.  International students with families that have an income below seventy-thousand dollars per year do not have to pay anything to go to the college they automatically receive a scholarship here for free so I believe we are going to see many more international students here."

Once Olga graduates, she doesn't see herself going back home to utilize her degree.  She says she would like to perhaps go to graduate school at some point.  “I’m not quite sure. My major is Chemistry and that doesn’t have much future in Greece as it will have in the states, like I am almost certain that I am going to be doing my Ph D degree and I am hoping to do it here in the United States because I can do many more things and do more research oriented things, there is much more equipment, much more endowment and the Ph D can take five years I really don’t think that I have that much time in the future.  The future will show.”




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