First year students at Kalamazoo College are required to take forums to help enhance their knowledge and understanding of the college and beyond. On Thursday, October 16, the first year students had an opportunity to come and learn about the study abroad process at one of the forums called “Why Study Abroad or Away?”
The Dewing auditorium held nearly 100 first year K students that seemed vaguely interested in the presentation that seemed to catch them at an inconvenient time. The forum was led by a speaker and four panelists that answered questions throughout the hour long discussion. The speaker started the forum by explaining the process of applying for the study abroad or study away programs and later asked the panelists some general questions about their experience. The panelists gave tips and answered questions for the audience like what their favorite experience was when studying abroad, the most valuable skill they learned, and what was the hardest adjustment they had to make.
One panelist’s answer seemed to stand out from the rest. The panelist was able to catch the weary crowd a little off guard and cause some laughter when he said: “One of my favorite memories was when I was walking down the street in Japan, and I actually saw someone I knew… it was another K student and I actually walked right past her and then realized that I knew her. I remember saying ‘Oh shit,’ because I never expected that. It just goes to show how small the world really is.”
Josh Reuter, a 19 year old ’18 student who attended the forum said that “I thought that the entire presentation was really informative, and it got me thinking about when I get to start looking at my options for when I study abroad my junior year.” Josh is from Brighton, Michigan and he also stated that he thinks traveling to places other than his hometown and Kalamazoo will open up his mind to things that he’s never really thought about and also give him lots of new experiences.