Each year at The Storm King School, orientation for new international students ensures that young scholars from all over the world settle smoothly into their new surroundings and adapt quickly to life on the Mountain. At the same time, Orientation Week also serves another important purpose– to introduce these students to the history and culture of the United States. After registering for classes and moving into their dorm rooms, the students embark on a long weekend of travel to important historical and cultural destinations.


Students pose on the lawn at Mount Vernon


This year, the largest group of new international students to date traveled to the former home of George Washington at Mount Vernon, NJ, before traveling to Washington, D.C. During their stay in the nation’s capital, the students visited the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Hard Rock Cafe, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and Museum of Natural History, the National Mall, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). On their way back to New York they were treated to a final day of fun at Pennsylvania’s Knoebles Amusement Park to top off the experience.


The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC


According to the students, some who will be living in the United States for the first time, this aspect of orientation is invaluable, teaching them about the country’s history and giving them life-long memories. “I had a great time in Washington DC and learned so much about America. I am very happy to be here,” explained Dingyi Allen Tao, an eighth-grader from Beijing, China. “I really enjoyed helping new students. My favorite places were the Hard Rock Café and the Air and Space Museum. I like American music and it was interesting to see some of the histories behind it…And the food was good,” said junior Hengyi Steven You who attended the trip as an RA (Resident Assistant). Sude Bakal, a junior from Antalya, Turkey, says that she and her new friends enjoyed the amusement park and the water rides the most. “The trip was really fun, we learned a lot and the best part is that now we are all friends,” she explained.

Many thanks to the faculty and student RAs who organized this year’s orientation events and helped our new international students get ready for another great school year.


Students view a harpsichord belonging to George Washington