Looking Back and Looking Forward: A 2011 Westtown School Grad Reflects on Her Global Quest

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Caylin Haldeman, a 2011 graduate of Westtown School, returned to Westtown on January 4 and 6 to tell students and parents about Global College, where she is now a freshman. Haldeman credits Westtown's global education with preparing her for the innovative program at Global College.

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Caylin Haldeman, second from left, in a Panamanian village studying sustainable agriculture

Boarding at Westtown made me ready for this. It’s made living abroad easier and it gave me the balance and ability to organize my time so I’m not overwhelmed.

Caylin Haldeman, a 2011 graduate of Westtown School, returned to the school on January 4 and 6 to tell parents and current students about her new educational journey at Global College, an innovative institution that sets its students on a four-year international pursuit of the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to interact effectively across cultures.

Parents were curious about whether she was prepared for college, and what led her to such a non-traditional option. Haldeman said she initially intended to apply to small liberal arts colleges in New England, but that when she came across Global College she realized it was exactly what she wanted. Her parents encouraged her to follow her dream.

But Haldeman said her Westtown education gave her the academic base to maximize benefit from the Global College program. “I’ve come to realize what an academic powerhouse Westtown is. Global College’s program is so experiential that I really needed the foundation I got at Westtown to be able to process everything I’m doing now. Now I’m doing a lot of field work and interviews. Our readings don’t come from textbooks, so there’s a lot to synthesize. I graduated from Westtown with the skills to do that.”

Westtown, a pre-K – 12 college prep school in West Chester, PA, requires boarding in the junior and senior years as a capstone to its educational program. The residential experience offers students the opportunity to put into practice everything they’ve learned up to that point. "Living and learning in a mindful, international community is the best preparation for leadership in the global workplace," says Westtown Head of School John Baird.

Haldeman agrees.

“At Global College, you live and study in a different country every year. This year I’m based in Costa Rica. I live with a host family in a town called Heredia outside the capital city of San Jose. Boarding at Westtown made me ready for this. It’s made living abroad easier and it gave me the balance and ability to organize my time so I’m not overwhelmed. I’m also able to do an independent study as a freshman, which isn’t the norm. Next year I’ll be in India for a whole new experience.”

With classes like Contemporary Indigenous Peoples in Latin America, Globalization in Current World Literature, Holistic Health, and Environmental Issues – along with concentrations in economics and tourism – it’s a fair question to ask what you can do with a global education.

Caylin Haldeman has an answer. “I want to start my own non-profit and I want to do it here in the Philadelphia area. I want to return to Pennsylvania with global experience and perspective, and use them to make change close to home.”

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