Bernard de Wet, Secunda, South Africa
My Roots/About Me
I was born in Mossel Bay, South Africa and moved to a small town called Secunda in the north of my country. After spending my childhood there, I moved to Doha, Qatar in the Middle East where I attended the American School of Doha. My counselor told me about Cornell College, so I decided to come to the States to visit the campus and meet a few of the people and faculty here and ended up falling in love with Mount Vernon and the college. So here I am!
Areas of Study
Psychology and biology
Eyes of the World, Choir, Deepwater (Bible study) and other religious groups, Languages Living and Learning Community
Long Term Goal
Graduate from Cornell College with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and biology and move on to graduate school, hopefully in the Chicago area.
Did you have any concerns about fitting in at Cornell?
To be honest, I was quite nervous about first coming to Cornell because I have never left my parents before, and on top of that I have never lived by myself in a different country. I soon realized, however, that making new friends was not as difficult as I thought, and the relationships I have built with my friends on campus are lifelong relationships.
What were some of your initial impressions of the campus community?
The campus and community really tries their best to bring people from around the country and the world together. We had a barn dance a few weeks ago where I met a lot of new members from the community and shared some interesting conversations. Also, I attend the Community Bible Church in Mount Vernon where I have met other members of the community.
On campus, life is great! The people that I have met, whether it was in class or outside, have become really close to me personally. Being an international student and away from my home and family, I have realized that my new family is Cornell and the community.
How have you grown at Cornell?
The relationships that I have made at Cornell I feel are the most important part of my college experience. My relationship with other international students makes me feel at home and part of a family. My most important relationship, however, is with my best friend, Jerry, who is Mexican and is from Fontana, California. We met a few weeks after coming to Cornell, and I have come to learn a lot about his culture and about his family and vice-versa. If you are able to become a part of a student organization on campus, then you will have friends that will end up meaning a lot to you.
How would you describe Cornell’s culture to other international students?
For international students, there are a lot of opportunities to meet people from your own country at Cornell. The student organization Eyes of the World is an international student organization where you make really good friends and meet interesting people. If it wasn’t for Eyes of the World, I would not be enjoying life at Cornell as much as I do today.
My advice is that you must really throw yourself out there. Be ready to make new friends and to join groups on campus and off. There are a lot of great opportunities at Cornell where you can show other people who you are, where you come from, and what you can do. Embrace life!
I know how to play the keyboard and flute as well as field hockey.