2012 graduates go abroad—again
Although it’s only been a short few weeks since members of the Class of 2012 graduated from Centre, many of them already have exciting plans for the future. Many new alumni will enter graduate school or join the work force—and some will put their passports to good use by going abroad for work and study opportunities.
Laura Bramblett ’12 began her time in the Peace Corps this week in Pretoria, South Africa, where she’ll be in training until early September before moving to either the Mpumalanga or Kwazulu-Natal provinces. Bramblett’s interest in the Peace Corps is long-standing.
“I learned about the Peace Corps in seventh grade. My history teacher was impeccably well-rounded—and super cute—and he really got me thinking about it,” she says. “I went to Malawi twice during high school, and that really hammered down my desire to go abroad and work on certain global issues as part of a positive, collective and agreeable change. Centre wrote an article about me as an incoming first-year and even then I said I wanted to join the PC. Something just seemed to stick in me that remained and grew and is now—finally—materializing into reality. ”
Bramblett is most excited about the people she will meet and the new culture she’ll experience through the Peace Corps.
“I’m really pumped to be part of a new community. Everything is about to change— language, dress, food, daily tasks, customs, (potentially) ethics, priorities,” she says. “Exposure to, and hopefully integration into, new walks of life is going to be so fun and extremely rewarding.”
Jim Ransdell ’12 is one of several recent graduates who was awarded a Fulbright scholarship for the coming year. Ransdell will spend his Fulbright year studying in Japan.
“I believe I will be in the Kansai region of Japan, near large cities such as Kyōto, Ōsaka and Kōbe. While there, I will be conducting interviews with Japanese citizens who have spent time in Africa through one of Japan’s bilateral developmental assistance programs,” Ransdell says. “I will interview these people in hopes of better understanding their attitudes, viewpoints and activities abroad.”
Ransdell became interested in Japanese-African interactions through research opportunities as an undergraduate.
“While at Centre, I worked with Dr. Richard Bradshaw on a number of projects dealing with Japanese-African relations prior to 1935, but I hope this project will contribute to a more complete understanding of Japanese-African relations in the modern period,” Ransdell says. “As of now, there is scant information available to foreign audiences regarding the activities of these aid workers. I hope to open up a more individual viewpoint and allow these workers to share their stories with a wider audience.”
What Ransdell most looks forward to about his Fulbright year is meeting Japanese aid workers.
“I’m sure they will have fascinating stories to tell,” he says. “Trying to form an impression of the African world through the eyes of the Japanese will surely be challenging, rewarding and fun.”
Several members of the Class of 2012 will be nearby in France, teaching English through English Teaching Assistantships (ETA) sponsored by the French government. Annie Schultz ’12—who will teach high school-aged students in Avignon—and Harry Chalmers ’12—who will also teach high school English in Nantes—both cite Centre’s study abroad program in Strasbourg, France, with inspiring them to apply for ETAs.
“When I spent the first semester of my junior year at Centre in Strasbourg, I really enjoyed simply getting the chance to walk around different areas, often with no particular goal or pathway in mind,” Chalmers says. “There was a constant sense of discovery, and I feel that the experience has made me more eager to visit new places. As odd as it may sound—and perhaps this is part of the influence of Dr. Keffer—I’d say I’m most looking forward to walking.”
“I’m looking forward to exploring a different part of the world and engaging in the cultural exchanges that come with learning and teaching language,” says Schultz.
A contingent of the Class of 2012 will also begin working at Edelweiss Resort and Lodge in Garmisch, Germany, which usually draws a small group of alumni every year.
“Our exact roles at Edelweiss are not determined until we arrive,” says Patty Cowley ’12. “Jobs range from dishwashing and housekeeping to security to jobs at the ski school, really wherever they need help.”
Those who will be working at Edelweiss eagerly anticipate living in Europe and the opportunities that will bring.
“I’m most looking forward to meeting new people, since they come to Edelweiss from all around the states and around Europe,” says Ben Lause ’12. “I’m also looking forward to traveling all over Europe, since I have never been.”
“I’m definitely looking forward to taking advantage of the opportunity to travel around Europe and meet new people,” agrees Liz Ratliff ’12. “I plan on taking advantage of every opportunity to travel to as many destinations as I possibly can within 13 months.”
No matter where the recent alumni will be in the world, they all cite their time at Centre for preparing them for what lies ahead.
“I think that Centre has really taught me the value of opportunities abroad like this one, along with the importance of making personal connections to people,” says Cowley.
“Centre allowed me to design my own major—East Asian Studies—gave me the opportunity to spend time abroad and generally helped to emphasize the importance of international, interdisciplinary studies from the beginning of my first year,” Ransdell says. “My professors at Centre—specifically Dr. Richard Bradshaw, Fumie Bouvier and Dr. Kyle Anderson—all played extremely important roles in helping me develop an interest in the international community and motivating me to take that interest to the next level.”
“Centre has definitely prepared me to work at Edelweiss because I learned to take chances and not be scared to try completely new things during my time at Centre,” Ratliff says. “Through doing that I made incredible friends, took classes I never saw myself taking and traveled to places I never thought I would see in my life. That’s exactly what I plan on doing at Edelweiss, and I definitely have my years at Centre to thank for that.”