Ramapo Offers International Students Diverse Location

Photo by Hope Patti

The Ramapo Valley County Reservation is a county park including more than 4,000 acres in Bergen County, bordering Ringwood State Park to the north and Ramapo Mountain State Forest to the south. The park lies on the border of the Piedmont and Highlands geologic provinces and is less than a 10-minute walk from the college.

While many students enjoy the Reservation, it left some international students disappointed when they first came. International freshmen, representing countries like Nepal, were accustomed to greenery and forests and were hoping to have a completely different experience coming into the U.S. and Ramapo College.

“I felt like the college was in the middle of nowhere,” said Anuj Bastola, a freshman from Nepal. “I was looking for a city experience. My flight landed in JFK and I saw the city immediately and it felt wonderful, but it started fading away as I headed to Ramapo. When I arrived, the city was totally gone and it was all country.”

The Ramapo Valley County Reservation, however, grew on many of the international students and became a weekly activity for some students.

“Everyone here is so busy with classes and work throughout the weekend. I guess that’s why the reservation is so full of people on the weekends,” said Jijeebisha Bhattarai, a freshman from Nepal.  “Visiting the Reservation has been a once-in-a-week ritual. It’s nice to see people with their families and pets. You don’t see hiking sites full of people and pets in Nepal.”

Ramapo’s location also allows interested students to enjoy a city experience, though.  It is approximately 25 miles from the city, and there is a shuttle service that picks students up in front of the Bradley Center and drops them off at Port Authority. This, along with the discounted tickets offered by Roadrunner Central, gives students convenient opportunities to not only visit, but also intern in the city while taking classes. The transition of some international students to Ramapo has altered their views on the city and the Ramapo community.

“In our first week, we were taken to New York by the International Student Organization and it was the most exciting trip for me. The Reservation didn’t seem like a big deal because I was used to much higher hills in Nepal, but now the city seems less interesting and the tendency to visit the reservation has steadily increased,” said Bastola.