Thank you!! I will go right ahead to edit that. Thanks for catching it!
Thank you!! I will go right ahead to edit that. Thanks for catching it!
(Jackie on Huashan in China, hanging off the side of the mountain on the skywalk)
(The yurt Jackie stayed in when in Inner Mongolia. Photo taken at the site!)
(Jackie on a boat cruise on Milford Sound in New Zealand)
I also did an internship with a company that sends Chinese students abroad, mostly to English speaking countries. I gave presentations on liberal arts institutions (something that doesn’t exist in China) and different universities in the USA, to my coworkers and prospective students. It was awesome!
Carmen Pullella is an international student from Rome, Italy. She is a sophomore majoring in Psychology with a focus in interested in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. She also enjoys writing poetry, going on an adventure to Northampton downtown and around Smith, taking pictures, and knitting on her own free time.
This winter, she made one of the top four students who will be attending College and University Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI), poetry slam nationals, in Colorado in March to represent Smith College.
Q: What other activities/leadership positions are you involved in at Smith?
A: I wish I had more time to be involved in student organizations! But so far I am only part of a couple, including Spitfire (which is the spoken word club on campus), Active Minds (which focuses on mental health and well-being), and the Sophian (the campus newspaper), for which I am the photographer.
Q: How did you come to competing in the poetry slam?
A: I have always enjoyed listening to spoken word. But an event in particular that drew my attention to poetry was attending an open mic night. The presented and performed pieces really touched me and that opened up my mind to the world of poetry slam. I did not think I could perform but I came to become more engaged. Eventually, I even joined Spitfire and began writing more. Through this process, I gained more confidence and the courage to perform at the next open mic and the next open mic happened to be a poetry slam. And it was a special one too since it determined the winners who would represent Smith to go to nationals in March.
Q: Congratulations! So how does the process of going to nationals really work?
A: So the poetry slam is a competition that determines who would be chosen to go to College and University Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) in Spring. The first slam round took place at Smith in the TV lounge of the Campus Center. It lasted about three hours with fourteen students who read their pieces. Then, from this event, the top seven poetry readers with the highest score would be chosen to perform for the second round of slam. Then the top four finalists out of the seven are would be those selected to go to CUPSI.
Q: Tell me about the piece you read!
A: I read two pieces throughout the entire process.
The first piece I read dealt with the issue of eating disorders and body image. When I read the piece, in my mind, I was addressing it to my future daughter. I wanted to communicate to her about her how she should not be afraid to be “hungry” for life and new experiences.
The second piece I read was an extended metaphor on letting go called, “The Art of Loose Knitting.” The title stems from the image of knitting myself closely to people then having a hard time letting go and unraveling the strings that I have knit so tight around them.
Q: What inspired you to choose these particular pieces?
A: Both pieces were written during times when I felt the need to examine certain aspects of my relationships certain people in my life and myself. Poetry is my outlet and my own method of release. It is a healing process for me where I am able to reflect, but at the same time, vent out and move on.
Q: How did Smith help or inspire you to be successful in this opportunity?
A: I honestly would not have been able to win the slam had it not been for Smith. Not only did I get involved in poetry slam at Smith, but also I was inspired to become a better writer and poet by my fellow Smithies. Without them, I could not have had the courage to perform or to share my work.
Q: Would you recommend current Smithies and prospective students to look into the Poetry Center at Smith?
A: Of course! The Poetry Center is a great resource and you should definitely seek there for any help regarding poetry writing, ideas sharing and more. And if you are looking to become an active member of a “poetry society,” where there are weekly meets in which the students write and host open mics and spoken word events, Spitfire is fantastic. And Creative Writing club on campus is also an excellent student organization. There are many resources for budding poets and writers on campus that will help you grow exponentially! Get involved, you will not regret it!
This Saturday (Jan. 1st), Smith College hosted Varsity Squash Seven Sisters Tournament.
Link to the article:
In a historical match, Wellesley vs. Mount Holyoke College (MHC won the championship for the past seven years straight), Wellesley took back the championship with a 6:3 win.
Smith College and Wellesley Team photo
Smith College and MHC Team Photo
The tournament was followed up by individual flight matches where the players were divided into A, B, C, D, and E divisions. This way, the players can play people of similar level, and get a good practice/play out of it.
Smith College Introduction Line Up
The matches were followed up by the banquet at Smith College Campus Center. The banquet included award ceremony, few words of thanks to the athletics staff, seniors, and coaches then dinner. Two players of each school (three for Wellesley for winning the championship) were awarded with All Tournament Award. From Smith College, sophomore Carly Melillo and I were awarded with all tournament.
All Tournament Award receivers
At the end, we thanked the coaches and the wonderful teammates by taking photos together. Squash season is coming to an end with one more big bang at the end. Nationals (Howe Cup) is coming up on Feb 21st-23rd in Princeton University in New Jersey.
Smith College Team Photo at the Banquet
Jana Chan was adopted from Chang Sha, Hunan in China as an infant by a single, working mother. She grew up in San Francisco and enrolled in Smith in 2011. She’s philosophy and economics double major who enjoys reading. Nothing could make her happier than being on her bed with a warm mug of tea and a great book! She is also on the Smith varsity squash team which, to quote, “has yielded countless rewarding experiences in happy conjunction with an incredible team dynamic.”
Q: Where are you studying and where have you traveled to through this Junior Year Abroad (JYA) opportunity? What experiences have you had?
A: The JYA Paris program at Smith is very supportive of cultural experiences. Firstly, we have the Sanford fund, a modest stipend specifically for cultural events (i.e. participating in sports, going to French films, trips to French-speaking places). I’ve used my Sanford fund mainly to see French films and go to museums. Secondly, the student life director, Marie-Madeleine, is charged (amongst other things) with organizing small weekend trips for the students to places like Versailles, Strasbourg, and Rouen. Thirdly, we are able to visit locations within and around Paris with Pauline (a France native and former Smith exchange student!) like chateaus, palaces, and prisons.
For my winter break, I decided not to return to the States and instead chose to travel around Europe with a friend from the Paris program. We bought a Eurail global pass and, in fifteen days, visited Bern, Zurich, Vienna, Prague, Plezzn, Munich, Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, and London. It was a tiring but remarkable journey.
Q: Why did you decide to go abroad? What’s the story behind it?
A: Strangely enough, when I was very young, I guess I romanticized the idea of France, the language, and the culture (pun intended)—no doubt the result of watching too many cheesy rom-coms. However, my schools before Smith did not offer French as a second language. So I capitalized on the opportunity during my first year at Smith. By my second year, I knew I wanted to go abroad. The French culture is so different from that of America’s and the thought of being in another continent for a year (already organized and paid for) was just too alluring to forgo.
Q: It sounds like you have had quite a travel experience! I’m curious, where was your favorite place of visit?
A: My absolute favorite place visited during the winter Europe trip was Prague. I wasn’t so keen on it at first since we arrived to its unheated train station at 4 am, but after a nap on a train (which was heated) to Plezzn and back to kill some time, we started a fresh day at 8 am. By the time we reached the Prague castle, atop a treacherous flight of stairs, the sun had just risen, lighting up the quaint rooftops below. It was so picturesque—I wanted to preserve the moment forever. Not even my DSLR could do the view justice. The town was lively and welcoming, and the Christmas markets felt like home. It was the perfect place to be before Christmas and I highly recommend a visit there.
Q: Was Smith morally and financially supportive of your study abroad plan?
A: Smith was very supporting in all aspects of going abroad. Though the process can be long and arduous, the study abroad office is extremely helpful. Additionally, many of my friends were also going abroad, so we were all excited for each other. Since I declared my double major a bit later, I was a bit anxious about graduating. However, my advisors were very helpful and supportive of pursuing the opportunity and refused to let me pass it by.
Q: It sounds like Smith was much of a home ground for you in that aspect. Do you miss it?
A: Yes, definitely. Being away makes me appreciate the little things. Here, it takes me about forty minutes to get to class. At Smith, I could roll out of bed five minutes before class and still arrive early. The gym and the library and the campus center and the food were free (technically speaking). The house community and team dinners I miss a lot too. Though I love my host family, I sometimes miss the Smithie accidental room parties or spontaneous midnight baking. The teachers and facilities are also amazing in comparison. In France, the education system and administration is horrible. And all my classes at Smith were so much better, in all respects, to my classes in Paris. Though I love Paris, there are many things I miss about Smith.
Q: What was your academic experience abroad?
A: I learned more than I expected, less than I hoped to. My first semester here, I took Linguistics, Economic Policy, and History of Economic Thought at Paris 7 Diderot, and a mandatory academic writing class at Reid Hall (the Smith center). My second semester just began, but I’m still ironing out my schedule. It looks like I’ll be taking Labor Economics, a philosophy class on Levinas, and another on Hegel at Paris 7 Diderot, as well as an economics class on well being and sustainability at Sciences Po.
I am also currently employed as an intern at a start-up personal shopping company in Paris called Flayr. My boss is actually a Smith grad who also studied abroad in Paris some ten years ago! She contacted our director looking for a social media/marketing intern and/or blogger and here we are!
Q: Were there any culture shocks?
A: Plenty! France is a completely different culture than that of America, and it is noticeable in every facet of life—at home, in school, on the street. For example, people say the French are snobby. It’s true to a degree, but from the point of view of an American. If we examine the values that compose the foundations of their inherent principles, we can better understand the reason why the French act differently and why their reactions are not considered entirely unjust. Rather, it’s not a flippant algorithmic or quantitative simplification of they are x, therefore y. Instead, it’s grounded in a completely different system, which is, at its core, substantiated in very culturally different beliefs, than those found and propagated within the US. So, very simply, yes: culture shocks. As an American, what I consider normal behavior is very different than the attitude adopted by the French. And it’s not that one is better than the other, but that they coexist as complements to two vastly distinctive cultural systems.
Q: What would you advise to the current or prospective students who are looking to go abroad? What should they think about before choosing where they want to go?
A: I would advise the students to look into the school system and the culture. Really know what you’re getting into. I came to France with my head in the clouds and thus enjoyed a nice ride on the struggle bus for the first semester. Get things done early and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I was too timid to contact my directors at the beginning of the program because I wasn’t confident in my French, but I regretted it later on because it could have prevented many awkward and uncomfortable situations. Don’t be afraid to fail; it’s the first step to learning.
I highly recommend going abroad just because it’s an (essentially once-in-a-lifetime) opportunity to experience a new culture. You’re only young once, and Smith is acting as your safety net to support and help you through any difficult situation. So what more are you waiting for?!
Q: What do you think you’ll miss most about France?
A: Hands down, the food. I never knew bread could taste so good until I came to France. Now I’ll never be able to go back. Wonderbread—what is that monstrosity?
(All photographed by Jana Chan)
Check out Jana’s photographs from year year abroad!
Click the link below: