Featured Junior: Contessa Mwedzi ’13

1. Did you go JYA?

Yes, to Paris

2. What was that experience like?

It was a great experience and I was challenged in many ways.

3. What were the challenges?

Communicating in French rather than English.

Living in a big city and not seeing green open spaces as much.

Being away from Vassar!

4. How do you compare being an international student at Vassar to that of being an international student abroad?

I think the biggest difference between the two is that in Paris, I was really pushed out of my comfort zone in a good way because I was speaking in French more than I was used to. It was also the first time that I was staying in a big city as opposed to staying on campus and I think that the exposure prepared me well for life after Vassar. Additionally, while I was doing research for my internship and for school assignments in Paris, I was able to access certain resources through the Vassar library website which I found extremely useful.

5. How have you changed as a result of your JYA experience? and/or Has the JYA experience led to any changes in your academic and/or career goals?

JYA was a great complement to my Vassar studies. It’s great to experience firsthand what you have been studying and to use the language that you are studying to deepen your understanding of a topic of interest. After my JYA experience, I decided to add International Studies as my major again (we have had a very complicated relationship over my time at Vassar but after Paris, everything has come full circle!)

6. What do you think prospective students should know about Vassar?

If you are inquisitive, ready to share your opinions, ready to be challenged, and most importantly grow, Vassar is the right place for you. Good luck!

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