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A Year Away

I went into study abroad intending to come back in January (after 5 months), as most K students choose to do.

By the beginning of December, however, I knew I wouldn’t be ready to leave at the end of January – so much so, in fact, that I began to see how possible it would be to extend my stay to 9 months. Long story short (I feel like I have become an expert on visas, passports, border control, and all related beaurocratic processes), I now officially will be continuing to study in Clermont-Ferrand through the month of May!

What does this mean for me, compared to if I had gone back to K for my last semester?

Well first of all, it’s not as if it were an incredibly easy decision to make with only one side pulling me one direction. I love Kalamazoo College for so many reasons… but I’ll have all of next year to enjoy it, and the rest of this year to take advantage of opportunities in France as much as possible.

It’s a little bit scary to be away from K activities for so long and to have my schedule be much less strictly organized. At the same time, however, it gives me a chance to breathe a little bit and to get some serious perspective. Not to say that it’s easy to be away from campus when important changes seem to be taking place, but being far away helps me to see that there are much bigger problems in the world beyond the K bubble.

Then there’s the thought of coming back… way far ahead in September, having to do my SIP and finish up with credits for my majors and minor. I won’t be living on campus anymore and the student body will be composed of almost entirely new faces to me. How strange! I know that by then, however, I’ll be ready to dive back into the flow of the K school year and take advantage of my last year before being thrown out into the real world!

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About Alexandra Smith ʼ16

Alexandra is a Junior from Corvallis, Oregon who is currently studying abroad in Clermont-Ferrand, France. She is a double major in French and International Studies with a minor in Economics. Sophomore year, Alexandra led a program for the Center for Civic Engagement at K and was a Co-President of the club Zookeepers. She loves dancing, painting, writing, eating, and travelling.