The Class of 2021 comprises students from twenty-seven countries. During the spring semester, the photography exhibition Home Away from Home? in David Saul Smith Union featured portraits of a number of these students. The pictures were accompanied by essays about what it’s like to study at Bowdoin when you’re often thousands of miles from home and family.
Over the summer, we’ll be publishing a selection of those photographs with the accompanying essays, and today the spotlight is on Cecilia Markmann ’21.
I’m from Denmark, but I’ve lived in Denmark, Germany, and China. A majority of my life has been growing up in China, as I lived in Beijing and Shanghai for a total of fifteen years. When I think about home, I identify with both Denmark and China. My extended family still lives in Denmark, and I go back every summer to visit. However, China is where my family currently lives and where I grew up. International student orientation, the welcoming and close-knit environment of campus, and people’s eagerness to meet each other have all made my adjustment to college life easier and made me feel at home at Bowdoin.
I think that having a better understanding of the differing cultures, perspectives, and values among international students is a continuous process that our campus should strive for. I wouldn’t say that my relationship with home has changed since coming here. Instead, I feel like I am adding another place and community to a list of places that I identify as home. When asked what I miss about home, I would definitely say family and friends the most. Relationships that I had before coming to Bowdoin are what make being away from home the hardest. But also missing home-made smoothies!
The exhibition Home Away from Home? was initiated, cocurated, and organized by Shinhee Kang’ 18 and Cheng-Chun (Kevin) Yu’ 19.