Although two years have passed since she went abroad, Vita Kan, 22, a student a St. Petersburg State University in St. Petersburg, Russia, still misses her time as an exchange student in the U.S. While attending Colby College in Maine, she studied English, German and organic chemistry and spent her free time traveling.
“I miss the MoMA and I’m sad that I haven’t been to the Guggenheim,” she said, recalling the fond memories from New York City, one of her favorite travel destinations. “Everyone is dreaming to go there and I spent so much time there. I think even now if I go to New York, I’d know for sure how to get to the Empire State Building, Times Square and Central Park.”
But coming home as also a fond memory, Kan said. She never got homesick — except for on her birthday — and talked to her parents every day on Skype.
“It was nice to come back and see my parents and all the other people close to me,” she said.
Two years later, Kan is deep into her studies of medicine at St. Petersburg State.
High angle view of buildings in a city, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Meanwhile, as another semester ends in the U.S., another generation of exchange students is gearing up to head home.
“I’m going to be really happy to see my friends and spend some time with my family,” said Noémie Brullard, 20, who spent the semester studying at Boston University. “I also can’t wait to walk in the streets of Paris. I love that city.”
In France, Brullard studies biotechnology at Sup’Biotech in Paris, a university that requires third-year students to spend a semester abroad. Brullard chose to study in the U.S. to improve her English, intern at a laboratory and discover new things.
“Taking classes wasn’t as difficult as I expected,” she said. “But the education system is completely different. I have a lot more classes, between 10 and 15, and a lot more hours of class, from 8:30 a.m. up till 7 p.m. [in France].”
Like Kan, Brullard also seized every opportunity to travel, visiting New York City a few times and spending Thanksgiving in New Jersey with a friend she had made on campus.
Ophélie Camile, Brullard’s classmate at Sup’Biotech who also spent a semester at BU, seems to have enjoyed her time abroad as well.
“I really loved discovering Boston,” said the 20-year-old biotechnology major. “My favorite memories from the semester? All of my Friday afternoons hanging out in the streets, especially around Back Bay.”
A native of Rueil-Malmaison, France, Camile decided to come to the U.S. “to practice American English, instead of this ugly British English we learned at school, and to discover the American culture I’ve always been interested in,” she said.
Brullard and Camile plan on hanging out with as many of the new friends they had made over the semester and visiting as many new places — such as Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts — as time allows before they fly back to France on Saturday and return to their homes, families and friends.
“I’m looking forward to having Christmas dinner with my family and friends,” said Camile. “But most of all eating good cheese.”
In Russia, meanwhile, Kan, having already had a chance to reflect on her time abroad, encourages other students to make the journey to the U.S. as well.
“I was offered this wonderful opportunity,” she recalled. “And I said yes because you never know when you’ll ever get a chance again to go to the U.S. and get such an experience.”
Powered by Facebook Comments