First-year student gets into the swing of things with a global perspective
by Spencer Bailey ’08
April 1, 2007
David Durstewitz '10
David Durstewitz '10, of Saratoga Springs , N.Y. , is an internationalist. He's a philosopher, a poet and a pianist. He's a drummer, a singer and a swing dancer. He's an avid newspaper reader and has a subscription to The Economist. He wants to help resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.
He's also a first-year Dickinson student.
So far, Durstewitz is an undeclared major because he finds himself “constantly thinking.” His focus seems to be on three subjects—psychology, political science and international relations—and two languages, Arabic and Hebrew.
“I want to learn more about the Israel-Palestine situation,” he says. “I hope to solve—or at least alleviate—some of the problems” in the future.
Durstewitz also hopes to study abroad in Dickinson's new partner program with the American University in Cairo, Egypt.
“Hopefully I can speak some Arabic by then,” he says.
And with all these interests, ideas and aspirations, Durstewitz finds himself busier than ever; and he's still adjusting.
“I think I'm always going to be getting used to college,” he laughs. “I'm constantly learning new things—new study habits, new languages, new cultures and new living situations.”
While he adapts to these new aspects of college life, Durstewitz says that Dickinson has certainly met his expectations.
“I decided to come to Dickinson mostly for the internationalism of it,” he says, “and this college offers me just that. The other day I had a conversation about the Arab-Israeli conflict with students from Sweden, Bangladesh and Pennsylvania. I love the diversity on campus.
“I enjoy talking with anyone about literature, social views, philosophy; anything. I learn from others by speaking with them about issues they have been directly affected by—things that I have only heard about in the news.”
Durstewitz is also heavily involved in extracurricular—and not just international—activities. He is reforming a swing-dancing club, which had previously existed at the college, and 20 students have already signed up. He is also a member of the D-Tones, Dickinson 's co-ed a cappella group.
In the pursuit of an “internationalist” education, it's no surprise that Durstewitz received a Benjamin Rush Scholarship, which provides $50,000 in tuition support over eight full-time semesters, as well as an Engage the World Fellowship, which provides $3,000 to support a special research or creative project, a summer internship, a community service activity or study abroad.
Even as a first-year student, Durstewitz is already realizing the benefits of a liberal-arts education.
“Every good college in America has international students with international views,” he says. “But there's a focus on it at Dickinson that doesn't exist on other campuses.”