For four years, Yale and New Haven have played an integral part in the lives of not just members of the Class of 2015, but also their families. Many of these families are international, oceans away from Yale. As commencement festivities bring together the graduating class to celebrate, they also draw hundreds of family members from different continents to the United States and to Yale — in some cases, for the very first time.
For most international families — even those that have never visited campus — experiencing Yale in all its glory over Commencement Weekend made for a memorable time.
Indira Pattni, the mother of Rushika Pattni ’15, who had never visited Yale, said that coming to Yale for graduation weekend helped her better understand her daughter’s college experience.
“Coming so far from home has made her very brave and adventurous,” she said.
Aleksandra Gjorgievska’s ’15 mother, Klementina, who lives in Skopje, Macedonia. had not visited Yale or the United States before she finally came to attend her daughter’s graduation. Gjorgievska, whose daughter was a culture editor for the News, called her trip a “dream come true” for her family, because they had the chance to experience Yale, their daughter’s second home.
“I love that the campus is full of history. My husband and I were just thinking that Cole Porter studied and composed in one of the dorms we visited,” said Gjorgievska. “Each college has a soul — even Morse and Stiles,” she added, laughing.
Despite the sightseeing, Gjorgievska said her time at Yale does not feel like a “tourist trip” at all. But because of the long journey from home to the U.S., the family plans to visit New York City after graduation weekend at Yale. Gjorgievska added that her family wanted to make the most of their trip, so they decided to come for an entire week.
“Hopefully, our daughter doesn’t mind.”
For other families, the experience of visiting Yale was a familiar one, but the occasion of graduation added a sense of finality.
Devika Mittal’s ’15 mother, Rubina, who lives in New Delhi, India, had visited Yale a few times over the course of her daughter’s undergraduate career. For her, graduation weekend was a more “relaxed [time]” than her previous visits to Yale.
“Our earlier visits to Yale have been about shopping, visiting the quaint little curio shops, going to the art galleries, having meals in the dining halls and meeting up with Devika’s friends,” said Mittal. “This experience has been very comfortable and has come with a feeling of déjà vu.”
Mittal also felt an increased affinity with the Elm City during her visit. She said each time she visited Yale, she learned more about the architecture and culture of New Haven. Commencement Weekend has been bittersweet for her in that it might be her last visit to “this most beautiful, historic city.”