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International student plans to use Whitworth degree to heal hearts in home country

Catherine stands in the HUB. She looks to the right and smiles.Catherine Rishmawi, '18, is an international student from Palestine pursuing a degree in psychology at Whitworth.

"Whitworth's model of an education of mind and heart shows me I chose the right place," Rishmawi says.

Rishmawi plans to return to Palestine and work as a Christian counselor with an organization there. Going back with a B.A. from Whitworth will make Rishmawi the first resident of Bethlehem, Palestine, with a degree in psychology from a Christian university.

"I live in a country where war is a constant situation and everybody is traumatized by what they've experienced in life," Rishmawi says. "After going back, I will work with families from my church and community to combat some of that trauma."

Studying at Whitworth has been challenging as an international student, Rishmawi says, but the community of professors has helped her adapt well.

"Assistant Professor of World Languages & Culture Gregg Brekke has given me all the tools I need to succeed in class," Rishmawi says. "He has extended such wonderful support toward me during my first semester, which has been such a blessing because the American education system is so different than back home."

Beyond the classroom, Rishmawi says her immersion in the Whitworth community is also preparing her to accomplish her goals back home.

"Learning about the American culture and language have made me understand my own culture and language better," Rishmawi says. "Living in Palestine, everything was so limited and the books I wanted to read were always out of reach. Whitworth has fulfilled my thirst for knowledge and I am so thankful for that."

International Student Admissions


International students are an important and active part of the Whitworth community. Current Whitworth international students come from 40 countries and every major continent. Whitworth values a diverse student body and strives to provide an excellent mind-and-heart education and a welcoming, supportive community for all students. The Whitworth Office of International Education, located in Hendrick Hall, offers support and services to the university's international students. Services include help with immigration matters, special orientation for new students, general counseling, and help with employment. The international education office also hosts international-oriented events and provides an inviting place for students to study and interact with classmates and staff.

Whitworth welcomes academically high-achieving undergraduate and graduate students of all nationalities, faiths and backgrounds and celebrates the richness that this diversity contributes to our campus community.

Fast Facts

  • 1890 founded
  • 2,353 traditional undergraduate enrollment
  • 100+ academic majors and programs
  • 86%

    classes with fewer than 30 students

  • 11:1 student-faculty ratio
  • 86%

    2019 grads employed or in grad school within 9 months of graduation

Contact Information


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