Participant in the 2013 ACM Student Symposium on Off-Campus Study
- Hometown: Chicago, IL
- Majors: French and International Law
- Graduation: 2013
- Program: Colorado College's French Department Tours, France Semester Program — Spring 2012
Transforming Identities: Cultural Hybridity and Liminality in the Francophone World
My off-campus experience in Dakar, Senegal and France revealed to me the implicit downfalls of a society based on capitalism and materialism and how these elements affect personal and social growth. Yet, my experience also re-introduced me to the significance of family, and as a result, I expanded my notion of family to include much more than people I have known my entire life. Surprisingly, I discovered the power of education; I became a global citizen where education enabled me to understand more about my personal journey — who I was and who I am becoming — and how I am connected to the world. The key features of the program that led to my personal, educational and societal discoveries were living with a host family who barely spoke English, traveling throughout Europe to various castles, and studying African Philosophy and French Colonial History.
At left: Video of Johnny Reed's presentation at the Symposium.
Interestingly, studying African Philosophy led me to discover a variety of historical movements and events — those that seem to be nonexistent and omitted from the history books I have ever read — that is essential to understanding African-American culture. Thus, this academic discovery fostered my personal growth because I became knowledgeable of history's missing links.
Post graduation plans: My long-term goal is to attend Northwestern's Law School in two years. My immediate post-graduation plan is to transition into a paralegal position in the Chicagoland area at an international law firm to establish a professional network. Above all, my primary post-graduation plan is to have options!
What was the best thing that you did while on an off-campus program? Attend wine tasting courses in addition to learning the geological elements present in the entire wine-making process.
What is one word or phrase that best describes your experience off-campus? Transformative
Top 3 reasons why you chose to go off-campus:
1. I personally wanted to leave the United States so that I would have a reason to miss it. Most importantly, I was in need of an adventure and I just wanted to start over: I simply wanted to become a different person and live a completely different lifestyle far away from my own cultural norms.
2. Secondly, I wanted to travel off-campus to experience the life of a young intellectual in France.
3. Finally, I wanted to visit the African continent — no particular country in mind — before the age of twenty-one and I am proud to say that I have completed this objective.
If you could travel anywhere where would you go? Saudi Arabia to delve deep into the culture and further develop a stronger sense of Saudi Arabian culture.
If you could learn to speak any language what would it be? Arabic!
What was the best meal that you had while on your program? Homemade lasagna that my uncle, who lives in Germany, made from scratch! I could taste every single ingredient and the meal was simply explosive!
What was the last movie you saw that made you cry? Finding Forrester, which was an absolutely inspirational film!
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