Going to college for me, as an international student, was one of the most exciting times of my life so far. I had a lot of questions flooding through my mind. “What would the campus look like?” “Who were my roommates?” “How loud does the primal scream sound?” Looking back, one of my biggest worries was that I would not be eating good food! Here is a taste of how I have experienced food at Swarthmore College.
Before coming to Swat, I took a gap year and during that time, I got a lot of updates from friends who went to study all over the world. Some friends were in South African universities, some went to the U.K., others went to the U.S. and elsewhere. One common theme that was woven into these updates was that the food was not up to scratch. One of my best friends, who is studying in the U.K., reduced his diet to chicken breasts and rice after a week, because of the lack of food options in his dining hall and surrounding town. Pretty sad, I know. But do not fear! I have found a way to make things work here at Swarthmore. And with some creativity, so will you! I love food, and I love cooking. At Swarthmore, I have been able to find my niche, where I can eat what I love.
When it comes to eating options on campus, in comparison to bigger schools, we have fewer options. However, we have enough to allow for a diverse food selection. On campus, we have our main dining hall Sharples, our student snack bar Essie Mae’s, and our two coffee bars in the Science Center and Kohlberg.
Off campus, we have more options: Hobbs Coffee Shop, Renato’s Pizzeria, Aria, Bamboo Bistro, and more. These are wonderful places to relax after a long day and also do some studying.
There are numerous events at Swarthmore that will often have extra food. The coordinators are always more then happy to share!
If you love cooking, you can also do that here! Every dorm has a kitchen, so you will be able to stretch your culinary skills even further. Our local co-op has such a wide range of goodies from which to choose. You can never go wrong. Whenever I decide to cook, I always make a stop at the co-op. You can use meal credits that are allotted to you at the beginning each semester in select shops in town with the swipe of your student ID. These are called points and boy, do they come in handy!
Our dining hall has a pretty wide range of options and serves as a great place to socialize with friends. There is a set menu that rotates its offerings everyday. Interesting fact: Sharples has a board where you can write on a napkin what foods you would like to see introduced to the menu, and your voice will be heard! The food is not always perfect (many of us can’t stand pasta bar), and everyone has different tastes and preferences. However, the great days at Sharples are truly great. The Sharples staff are also responsible for adding to the magic of the place, and we are so lucky to have them in our lives.
I must say that some of my favorite moments here at Swarthmore College have been centered around food. You can totally make things work here with regards to food. Even though nothing will ever come close to our mothers’ cooking, we do get by here pretty well.