As both a pre-emptive and a reflective exercise, I think that it’s a good idea to review the most frequent questions that I have gotten thus far in my presenting experience, along with the most difficult ones. This gives me the chance to both improve on my responses by making them tangible and well-formed, and consider what it is in certain queries that I find hard to formulate an answer to.
I have now more than once been asked how a study abroad experience fits into a student’s total academic experience, and senior year job search. I know that this is a particular concern for those who have hard science and not language majors and consider going abroad a luxury, but I am always quick to say that going abroad can be adjusted to fit any area of study. A Pre-med student can take science classes at the host university in Munich, Germany, shadow a local doctor, and volunteer for a blood drive campaign. An Economics student can study development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, or create an independent project around how the Olympics in 2014 will affect the Brazilian economy. A Middkid interested in English can take advantage of our exchange program with Oxford, heading to the source of modern literature and can see the very places about which Dickens, Wordsworth, and Austen wax poetic. Going abroad is an option available to everyone, and one that, having studied and volunteered in Madrid, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal, I highly advise.
Another top question, often more forefront in the minds of parents than prospective students, is how Middlebury prepares its seniors to go out into the world. As someone with only months standing between me and the workforce, I can identify with this worry, but also promise that the Career Services Office is incredibly helpful. Just yesterday I dropped in to have my resumé polished, and have already worked with them to apply for several Fellowships. They have several online job search programs like MOJO and MiddNet that I peruse in my spare time, so I can honestly say that, with a little time and energy, Middkids will have no problem finding their post-college path.
Finally, one tricky question that I have gotten is regarding our setting in rural Vermont. As a student that applied to Middlebury from Tokyo, Japan, I know that there are lots of things that I miss about urban life. That being said, I know that I will have a lifetime of working in cities or suburbs ahead of me, and I chose to take a break from the rushed, impersonal city life for a rural setting where I know the name of the majority of the people that I pass in Proctor while grabbing breakfast. There is something so special about being able to head out spontaneously on hiking trips, about having a community network, that can’t be found in more developed places. Besides the hominess, Middlebury brings so many speakers, bands, and events to campus that you feel as though you are in the middle of a bustling academic metropolis—which you are.
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