Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in Mussoorie, India, Woodstock School lays claim to one of the most picturesque campuses in the world. State-of-the-art facilities and residential halls look small compared to the towering mountains and surrounding trees.“Woodstock is a world of its own,” said Shoaib Ansari, a second year computer science major who attended Woodstock from second grade to graduation. “That’s what I’ll always describe it as.”
“It’s an international school, so you don’t feel like you’re in India,” she added. “When I used to go there, it was like going to a different world. When it was 6:00 p.m. and I went back to my house, it was like being back in India.”
Students come to Woodstock from all over the world, including countries like Tibet, Vietnam, India, Thailand and the United States.
Dan Koop Liechty, international student advisor, has a great deal of experience at Woodstock, having attended the school for a year in kindergarten when his father was an admissions counselor at the school and for another year in seventh grade while his parents completed service work in India and Nepal.
“It’s one of those places in the world where if you come back after a year or two, you kind of have this feeling like, oh, I’m home,” he said. “There are two places in the world that are like that for me: Goshen and Woodstock.”
From 2006 to 2009, Koop Liechty served as Woodstock’s college counselor, following in his father’s footsteps. During his stint as a counselor, he met with multiple future Goshen students in their younger years. Ayaan John, a senior exercise science major, who attended Woodstock School from kindergarten until graduation.
“Everyone knew everyone,” John said. “The seniors would hang out with, like me, when I was in second and third grade. It was just such a tight-knit community; you really didn’t feel excluded because you were interacting with everyone, from the principal to somebody who just maybe cleans the floors.”
The school’s community extends beyond its campus.
“It’s one of those degrees-of-separation places where if you know someone there, you’re gonna know so many people around the world,” Koop Liechty said, adding that he has friends from Woodstock on every continent.
Days at Woodstock are packed to the brim, especially for student-athletes like John. For cross country, he would wake up at 5:30 a.m, running through some of the world’s highest peaks by 6.
Days at Woodstock School consisted of classes, free time and numerous clubs, including unique opportunities such as the aviation club and an environmental care club, in which students helped to clean up their surrounding environment.
Woodstock’s academic workload is demanding; boarding students are given hours of homework nightly to keep them busy and prepare them for the academic rigors of higher education.
“If you’re a B student at Woodstock,” Koop Liechty said, “you’re an A student anywhere else.”
The school is recognized as an International Baccalaureate World School, with visitors from Ivy League schools and other prestigious universities worldwide. Their main emphasis, however, is on community and morality.
“In Woodstock, we were taught that everything that you’re doing [represents] Woodstock,” John said. “So you need to be really mindful of how you treat other people and what you do and what you say.”
John said: “Woodstock was a school of filthy rich kids that came to boarding school, but the values that were taught at Woodstock about being humble; it’s about who you are as a person before the achievements that you have, or what it is that you do.”