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Postcard from France: Volunteering with a refugee resettlement organization

While Emily Kratz ’21 is learning and growing in the classroom, she is engaging with a community as an English teacher at a refugee settlement organization.
  • Name: Emily Kratz ’21
  • Hometown: Normal, Illinois
  • Major: Political Science and French
  • Study Abroad Location: SciencesPo Rennes, France

Q. How is studying abroad benefiting your Beloit College education?

A. More profoundly than anything I am traditionally studying, study abroad is pushing my boundaries, both personally and of what I thought was possible for my life beyond Beloit. While classes are a major part of my time here, I feel like I have grown so much, especially in becoming more independent and confident in navigating new situations and in solving problems. I will definitely take that forward in my life, as much as any skill I would learn in the classroom!

Standing with the sign for my school, SciencesPo Rennes (also known as L'Institut d'Etudes Politi...

Standing with the sign for my school, SciencesPo Rennes (also known as L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques)

Q. How were you engaging with people and places when you’re not in the classroom?

A. I volunteer with a refugee resettlement organization called Wintegreat as an English teacher.I also spend lots of time with my friends; we often cook dinner together and we love to go shopping in the city center, and usually top it off with some coffee or tea in a cozy café. Finally, I have been traveling and exploring new places.

Q. What are the three most important things you packed in your suitcase? Why?

1) A hand towel and a couple of washcloths - I have found comfort in having familiar towels for my daily routine. (Plus I saved money, since I only had to buy a bath towel when I arrived.)

2) My favorite blanket - although the dorm provided sheets and a blanket, having my own from home makes me feel more cozy when I’m trying to fall asleep.

3) Some comfy lounge clothes - I try to dress more like a local when I’m going to classes and into the city center, but I like being able to lounge around in casual clothes on Sundays.

Q. What is your favorite place in your host city/country?

A. I love the city center, especially the cute little cafés and restaurants. There are so many to choose from, and each has its own personality and energy. I feel like there is always a new place to try out with my friends.

The Brittany Parlement building in the city center

the Mairie de Rennes (Rennes City Hall)

Q. What has been the most unexpected thing you’ve encountered while studying abroad?

A. The most unexpected part of studying abroad has been how much I miss living in the U.S.! I knew it would be hard to be away from family and friends and that I would have lots to adjust to, but I did not anticipate just how much I would miss American food and being in a truly familiar place.

Visiting Beloit friend Rose- Williams ?21, while she studies in Copenhagen!

Visiting Beloit friend Rose- Williams ’21, while she studies in Copenhagen!

Q. What is a common food there? What is the best meal you’ve had abroad?

A. As most people know, bread is very common in France. Daily, you can buy freshly made bread baguettes and croissants for quite a cheap price. And, yes, they are as delicious as everyone says they are.


Hiroaki Tani ’20
March 02, 2020
  • The Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest at nighttime as seen from a Danube cruise

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