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The Scarlet & Black

Anita Hill


“People in England are very reserved in public, so particularly people [in the Midwest] saying ‘Hi, how are you?’ all the time, I had to train myself on how to respond ‘cause I used to just freeze when someone said that to me.”

This is how Anita Hill ’21 (in between laughs) described her experience coming to Grinnell for the first time from her home in Kent, England. As a non-Midwesterner myself, I could not have related more to her adjustment period.

She quickly adapted to the environment in Grinnell, however, giving credit to her love for both travel and the learning style in the United States. “I had the idea that I wanted to go to the U.S. because I was interested in the liberal arts … the liberal arts is not a thing in the U.K.,” she explained.

Grinnell has been a perfect fit. “I’m just such a big academics nerd that the education that I’ve got from Grinnell, … I’ve just loved learning, the classes have been so fun,” she said, smiling. She praises Grinnell’s open curriculum. “One of my goals every semester was to take an intro class … I’ve taken almost every intro class.” An impressive feat while also majoring in classics.

Her inspiration for classics originated in a time far before any intro class, however. She fondly recalled a story from her childhood that explains her interest.

“My mom has a story she likes to tell people. … When I was five, I was homeschooled and we were learning about the Romans, and one day I disappeared into my bedroom for like five hours and came out with this polystyrene model of a Roman fort, and I was like ‘I built this.’”

For Anita, the Grinnell experience has never been confined to only the small town in Iowa. During the past four years, she has created memories in many different places. For anyone considering studying abroad, she highly recommends it. “I studied abroad in Greece in my third year where I visited the Athenian Forum,” she said with excitement.

Aside from academics, she loves the variety of people she has gotten close to at Grinnell. “Having friends who are international students has been so cool, I have been able go visit them … I have gone to visit friends in India, Vietnam and Korea.” She views travelling to visit friends as one of her “absolute favorite things to do.”

Passionate about music, one thing that shocked her was that the music she was listening to at home was not as well-known in the United States. “I was quite into the music scene at home [in Kent], and a lot of the bands that I was into had not made it over to the U.S. … which was kind of sad.” While this did disappoint her, after going to the CupcakKe and 100 gecs concerts at Grinnell, she began to appreciate other music scenes.

Despite the positive memories of Grinnell, Anita has found the online experience this year to be frustrating. “[This year] has been pretty bad at times. … I wish I got to spend more time at Grinnell, I do feel like I missed out on part of the college experience, if that’s not too cheesy to say.”

Her budding optimism continues to shine through though, as she looks forward to the summer. This summer, she plans on combining her love of travel and learning through an internship with a Grinnell alum who works in international arbitration. While the internship would be based out of Singapore during a regular summer, due to the pandemic it is virtual. Taking advantage of this, she is doing the internship from Jamaica, where she will be living with a fellow Grinnellian.

With amazing experiences in places ranging from England to India, Greece to Korea and the United States to soon Jamaica, as well as fluency in five different languages, this upcoming internship seems to suit her interests quite well.

If things go according to plan, she hopes to go to Europe in either the fall or spring of next year to help with the refugee crisis, something she said she’s “wanted to do for ages.”

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