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International Student Orientation 2023

Defne explains her International Orientation experience as an incoming freshman from Istanbul, Turkey.

Defne explains her International Orientation experience as an incoming freshman from Istanbul, Turkey.


Moving In

Moving in to my dorm room on the 31st of August, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I had never seen the campus before and I was alone in a foreign country, left to fend for myself. But as I took in the gorgeous sights of the campus and realized that it was even better than the pictures, I had a good feeling in my chest.

A beautiful sunset over Carleton College campus, looking out from one of the dorm buildings.
Sunset from a dorm room

First Day

The International Student Orientation (ISO) kicked off with a pizza dinner on our move-in day. While I was a bit nervous going in, I was immediately swarmed by smiling faces who were also in the same boat as me, and I met a lot of people that night who I can say I’m very close with. It was definitely a great beginning to an amazing week. Although the schedule was quite hectic, I loved spending time with people from all across the world and getting to know the school together.

One of Defne's friends sits in a dorm room chair and drinks a soda
Hanging out in dorms

Second Day

We met with our smaller ISO groups the next day, which we would spend the next few days with. Our first full day was spent with bank appointments, filling legal documents and trying to understand how the waffle machine works. Although a bit tedious, I can say that filling the I-9 form and signing up to GLACIER made us bond over our shared hardships. Then we went to Target and bought a bunch of stuff that we don’t need. It was beautiful.

Third Day

On Saturday we toured Northfield with our groups. The weather was absolutely amazing and the coffee I got from Goodbye Blue Monday made it all the better. We got ice cream from Blast, which by the way has enormous portions, keep that in mind when you order. We walked around the thrift stores and went to Taco Bell. Some poor souls made a trip to the bank but fortunately I was not one of them.

Defne and other students sit around a coffee table in one of the dorm buildings

Hanging out with ISO friends!Fourth Day

Sunday was a bit more hectic. We went on a cruise trip and played cards, which I learnt can show the dark side of your new friends. Just joking. Or not. Anyways, cookies calmed us down and our shared hatred for coke and lemonade definitely brought us closer. Our next stop was the Mall of America. It probably wasn’t the brightest idea to go there on a Sunday when half of the population of Minnesota is trying to go the the Lego shop, but nevertheless, we went there. People bought coats, boots and gloves to get ready for the winter. I bought popcorn that could feed a medium sized family and spent three hours in Barnes & Noble. If I had another chance, I would do it all over again. The best part of this day was the bonfire we had in the night. The stars were beautiful and we talked for hours while eating s’mores. It was certainly one of those special moments.

Defne and two friends sit on a couch, enjoying a pizza
Pizza with my friends

Last Two Days

The next two days were much slower and filled with workshops and presentations by offices around the campus. As other freshmen started to move in, we understood that our time as the owners of the campus had come to an end.

I loved ISO and it truly was a great start to the year. I made amazing friends and I think that I will remember ISO as a special time in which I met people that I will keep beside me for years to come. Shoutout to all of the amazing peer leaders who showed us around and helped us find our way back to LDC at every meal. Also to Liz and Fatima and everyone else in the Office of International Student Life.


Defne (she/her/hers), is a first year international student from Istanbul, Turkey. Her natural habitat is the library and her diet consists of tea, coffee and LDC pizza. An artistic specimen, she dabbles in all art forms from printmaking to theater. She can be observed reading comics in the bookstore in downtown Northfield.