“In Love with the World”: Study Abroad in France

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Shea Pitre ’15 at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland

Before I began my study abroad at L’Université Catholique de Lille, I had never been out of the country and had rarely ventured out of the southern U.S. I’m an International Studies and French double major, so studying in France was a necessity, but the decision to do it for a year was both insanely easy and incredibly frightening. I was worried about all the usual things students worry about before they begin their study abroad. Would I like it? How was I going to handle being so far away from home for so long? Did I know enough French to actually live in France?

Not long after my arrival in France, all of my worries were put to rest. The first few months were not without their fair share of struggles and homesickness, but I quickly fell in love with my surroundings. Being constantly surrounded by the French language and culture was, and still is, absolutely thrilling. I am constantly learning new things in and out of the classroom, not only about the world around me but also about myself.

London

London!

In the classroom, I have been able to attain a higher level of French. I have also been able to gain a different perspective on international relations and what is going on in the world. Most of my classes this year have focused on international political ties and foreign policy from a French and broader European view, and it has truly enriched what I already knew and loved about my International Studies major.

My time abroad so far has been a truly transformative experience. Thanks to Europe’s connectedness, I’ve now been to 24 cities in 13 different countries, and I have learned so much in each place from experiencing it, rather than reading it out of a textbook. Besides finally realizing my childhood dream of going to Paris (which was amazing), one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had during my exchange was visiting the Palace of Nations and the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. It was so wonderful to learn its history and be in a place where so many important decisions have been made on the international front.

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Lille, France

Thanks to all of these amazing experiences that I have had and the fact that I have been submersed in a completely different culture for seven months, I am more confident and inspired, and I have fallen in love with the world. However, as amazing as this experience has been, I am ready to return home to see where everything I have learned leads me in life and in the rest of my time at Oglethorpe. I urge every Oglethorpe student to talk to Dr. Collins and take advantage of one of the many amazing study abroad opportunities our school has to offer. You won’t regret it.

The NO Project Seminar on Human Trafficking Awareness at Oglethorpe

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Oglethorpe University will host a seminar by The NO Project, a global anti-slavery public awareness initiative that focuses on the demand for human trafficking and educates through music, the arts, film, dance  and social media.

The free event will be held Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in the Conant Performing Arts Center and is co-sponsored by Oglethorpe University’s A_LAB (Atlanta Laboratory for Learning), Oglethorpe Women’s Network, Global LEAD and The Junior  League of Atlanta, Inc.

The NO ProjectAttendees will enjoy a captivating 90-minute multi-media interactive seminar that presents the truths behind human trafficking. The seminar encourages students—and others—to use their passion, interests, talent and connections to respond and join the fight against modern day slavery. The presentation includes award-winning documentary film clips, world-class animation, music, art and dance, all of which reflect the intelligent, creative, proactive stance that youth, artists and educators are taking to address the crime of modern slavery. The NO Project seminar enables listeners to better understand forced/bonded labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sexual exploitation.

Diamonds by Myra

The NO Project has come a long way from its beginnings at a kitchen table in Athens, Greece. It now operates globally, from Bulgaria to New Zealand, Turkey to the U.S., Romania to the Philippines. Its presentation shows that slavery is often much closer than the average person and consumer realizes, connecting slavery to items that we use and enjoy in our everyday lives. These items include electronics and food like chocolate and shrimp cocktails. While human trafficking is barbaric, violent and overwhelming, The NO Project take an approach to the global crime that is neither depressing nor gloomy.

For more information regarding this event, please go to noproject.oglethorpe.edu.