My Davidson | A Student Blog My Liberal Arts Education — Honestly, a Game Changer

a young Black man wearing a white sweatshirt stands in front of a wall of paintings of musical instruments

Divin Dushimimana ’26, an intended public health and economics major from Rwanda, reflects on his first year at Davidson College as an international student and the value of a liberal arts education to his personal and academic growth. 

About the Author

Divin Dushimimana ’26 (he/him/his) is an intended Public Health and Economics double major from Kigali, Rwanda.

"I believe Davidson can become your second home upon arrival. Davidson fosters honesty and kindness, which create strong and long-lasting bonds between peers and professors. I was extremely fortunate to be in a class where my professors not only knew my name but also recognized my background and identity.”

One year ago, I was a terrified high school senior. And, to be honest, I knew very little about Davidson College or what a liberal arts education entailed. However, as I contemplated where I would spend the next four years of my undergraduate education, I realized this was a "no wrong" situation. Despite the uncertainties and worries about going somewhere far from home, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have chosen Davidson. While I might not have thought of them as a high school student, here are the reasons why I continue to choose Davidson every day.

Reason #1: The Host Family

Davidson, as a small liberal arts college, cares about you as a person and the kinds of relationships you'll form on campus and in the community. As such, the college has a strong host family program to assist international students in settling in the United States. This is the family that will be your first friend in the United States, showing you around and assisting you in any way they can when things get tough. I was extremely fortunate to be hosted by the lovely PARKERS, and I couldn't imagine my life in the United States without them. For example, when I arrived at college in August, my luggage got lost at the airport and was difficult to locate, but my host parents assisted me in retrieving it. I was scared to lose all of the materials I had brought with me to the United States, but my host parents came to my rescue. When I think of a situation where I couldn't have had host parents, I freak out. I don't know what I would do.

a compilation of pictures of a young man with his host parents

Host families are a distinctive part of the international student experience at Davidson. Ranging from single individuals to families with children, they commit to hosting students for the duration of their time at Davidson, meeting at least once a month and keeping in consistent contact.

Reason #2: Distinctively Supportive Learning Environment

While I was excited for the first day of class at Davidson, school is always school, and I found myself struggling with a new way of learning that required lots and lots of writing. This writing kept me busy. However, because of my small classes, professors could provide personalized feedback, which helped me improve as a writer. Additionally, the Center for Teaching and Learning has been an amazing resource throughout my time at Davidson. Resources such as the Writing Center provided me with feedback and suggested edits on papers, which always ensured that my papers were in good shape before submitting.

Moreover, when my economics class proved to be challenging due to lots of content and a new way of learning, the collaborative and supportive learning environment supported me again. My friend Taft and I formed a study group so that we could work together. We also sought out help from older students on campus who were so kind and willing to provide academic assistance. At Davidson, you’ll always find a helping hand.

Reason #3: Everything Outside of the Classroom

On the fun side of things, Davidson provides opportunities for international students to travel and explore U.S. culture through a variety of lenses that they are interested in. For example, I received a grant this winter to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana, to investigate the impact of slavery on the city through Jazz and Art.

In New Orleans, I did activities ranging from eating soul food at Mother’s restaurant to listening to a Jazz band perform in a bar at Bourbon street. Additionally, I was able to visit the congo square, a familiar name, which is a very vital location to the discovery of Jazz because Africans used to gather here for meeting and dance. Also, I visited various museums and cathedrals that hold rich African history, which taught me a lot about slavery and Black people in the area. This was an incredible opportunity to explore aspects of U.S. culture that I will be able to apply in some of my classes here at Davidson College. This is an opportunity I couldn’t have seized if it wasn’t for Davidson.

a young Black man wearing a "Davidson" shirt standing next to a Jazz statue

Through a Weinstein Travel Grant, I was afforded the opportunity to visit New Orleans over my winter break this year.

Despite the fact that Davidson is an academically rigorous institution, there are resources available to help you grow and improve. Everyone around you is eager to lend a helping hand when you need it. I consider myself extremely blessed to have attended such an incredible institution that promotes both academic excellence and personal development.


  • March 20, 2023