BRS: How did you decide where to attend school and what are you studying?
The American University of Paris was one of the first schools I applied to, and was on a whim, and a “What is there to lose,” kind of decision. Initially, I didn’t even consider studying outside the States; I figured I’d end up at some small, Northeastern, liberal arts school like the rest of my friends. But as the months progressed and I received my array of acceptances and rejections, I began legitimately considering what my education could be like at AUP. I knew moving to Paris would be an incredible challenge for me and would push me to expand my adaptability and perspective. Moreover, I’ve always aspired to be a global citizen, experiencing new cultures and meeting people with different values, languages, and upbringings. I knew going to an extremely international school would undoubtedly offer those opportunities, not to mention living in a foreign country! I was enthralled by the transformative potential of moving and studying in Paris; no longer could I imagine myself at that small, northeastern liberal arts school, only exploring the streets of Paris and experiencing the wonders of Europe and the world. I am now in a joint major offered at AUP called Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) while minoring in Arabic.
BRS: What is it like being away from home? Which classes are you enjoying and why?
Being away from home is exactly what I expected, in the sense that I had no idea what to expect. I’ve lived in New York all eighteen years of my life and never have really spent long periods of time away from my family. I came in open-minded, optimistic, and totally clueless. I’d like to say though, that I’ve adapted fairly well. I was very fortunate to get along really well with my roommates and quickly adopted a close-knit circle of friends. It has been an incredible experience to explore the city of Paris with people from completely different backgrounds than my own. My best friends are Senegalese, Singaporean, and Cambodian. When we walk into a bar, it sounds like the starting lines of a joke! In all seriousness though, meeting such diverse, interesting, and well-traveled people has opened my mind to so many new perspectives and values; I have learned so much from just being their friend.
I believe that my education at both Blue Rock and high school has done a fantastic job preparing me for my education at AUP. I’m encouraged in university to be self-initiatory, ask questions, explore all of my many interests, and make multi-disciplinary connections. Anyone who is familiar with Blue Rock’s mission knows that these values are highly endorsed and successfully taught among students. While I have seen some of my peers struggling to adapt to this education system, I have found myself sufficiently prepared, and amply challenged. Some of my favorite classes are Critique of a Political Economy, Political Philosophy, and Arabic.
BRS: How did your time at Blue Rock influence who you are today, or what things did you learn or develop about yourself while you were at Blue Rock?
Coming from many years of public schooling, I believed the concept of learning to be a systematic and quantifiable affair. The information we learned never stemmed from the students’ interests, rather what was federally instated by Common Core. Being engaged in class, or studying the material was never self-motivated or out of excitement for the topic, but reinforced purely through grades. I was left with an anxiety and pessimism, which clouded my love for learning and education. Blue Rock altered that perception. My education here was completely content based and did not focus on measuring my intelligence with a number. Blue Rock encouraged self-initiatory learning and incorporated our own interests and ideas into the curriculum. It supported and inspired creativity like I’d never seen before, prompting students to consistently generate new ideas, and integrate art, music, poetry, etc. into almost every project. Yet, what amazed me the most about the Blue Rock education was that I found my peers to be: astonishingly intelligent, well-rounded, and highly motivated, despite the lack of grades and exams. They were completely engaged, invested, and enthusiastic about their education, and that energy was more inspiring than A+ could ever attempt to be. I am beyond grateful to have been educated at Blue Rock- their values and approach to learning have been an incredible inspiration.
Indigo is currently studying Arabic and Middle East Policy at the American University of Beirut, through a collaboration with AUP.