“It is much more common for people to speak two or even three languages in other countries, Learning languages really expands your mind.”
Meredith Shubel ’18 is always up for a challenge.
Finding a course of study that provided a challenge led Meredith to explore a range of academic interests—education, history, and writing and rhetoric. “My schedule was so busy that I needed to choose my classes carefully,” she says. “The professors here were really flexible and they support the needs of individual students. I usually looked more at who was teaching than the title of the class.”
The one area of interest that challenged her consistently throughout her education is the study of French language and culture.
Meredith had always hoped to spend a semester studying abroad to hone her language skills. At first she assumed it would be out of her reach, but she was able to go abroad without having to pay additional tuition through an exchange program in the city of Rennes, France. “There are a lot of ways you can make it affordable,” she says.
Meredith feels that living and studying abroad was transformative for her. “When I was in Rennes, I didn’t really notice how my perspective and my habits were changing, but when I came back, my friends and family noticed a real change in me,” Meredith says.
“Studying abroad is something I would recommend for everyone,” she says. “And everyone gets something different from the experience.”
The students she met came from all over the world and now she has friends in France, Australia, Mexico, and Poland, among others. “For me, the most valuable part was living with people who weren’t from America–and learning new things from them every day,” Meredith says. She notes that most of her new friends speak at least two languages. “It is much more common for people to speak two or even three languages in other countries,” she says. Meredith has even taken up her third language, Russian. “Learning languages really expands your mind,” she says.
Talking about goals and aspirations with peers from around the world also introduced her to career options she didn’t even consider like working for an international company becoming a translator. Ultimately she discovered technical writing as something that combines her broad range of interests.
Meredith now works as an account coordinator and technical writer at Castor Communications, a PR firm in Wakefield, R.I. Her role there combines her interest in communications with education as she describes new technologies, like far infrared sensors for autonomous vehicles, to readers.
Meredith also keeps in touch with the friends she has made all over the world. “Studying abroad is something I would recommend for everyone,” she says. “And everyone gets something different from the experience.”