"Everything I learned about in my Blackness in French class was very eye-opening. I truly left that class changed for the better."

My name is Amara Onyeukwu. I am a junior at Columbia College, majoring in psychology on the pre-med track and I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia. My two main reasons for wanting to study abroad were before my study abroad experience, I had never been out of the country. So, this immediately enticed my desire to apply for this opportunity. In addition, given my courseload with Columbia requirement classes, my pre-med requirements, and the fact that I am a student-athlete on the track and field team, my time is limited, so I cannot take a lot of classes that adhere to my other interests and hobbies. So, when I saw there was a class related to film and a class related to black studies taking place in Paris, France, I was more than intrigued to apply for this study abroad program.

For the majority of my life, I have been very track or school-focused. While I have had hobbies and interests in topics unrelated to my current school’s curriculum, I have never really had the chance to explore these hobbies and interests. However, with the study abroad program, it was as if all my interests had resurrected. With this study abroad program I was exposed to a new perspective within the conversation of the African diaspora, centered in France. This perspective is one I truly hadn’t thought of as an African-American woman living in the United States. Everything I learned about in my Blackness in French class was very eye-opening. I truly left that class changed for the better. With my final project for my Blackness in French class, my love for dance was resurrected. For our final project, we were allowed the freedom to choose how we presented it. I decided to create a video with a dance performed and choreographed by myself, a montage of pictures related to my experience with a voiceover, and spoken word. This final project truly allowed me to resurrect my love for dance and different cinematic art forms. My final project for this class is the thing that I am most proud of myself for creating in my academic career. I truly flourished because of that class. Long-term speaking, that class has created in me a reminder to have the French-African diaspora and my love for dance and cinema woven into whatever my future becomes, whether it be a permanent hobby or a career.

As much as I loved my time in Paris, France, studying abroad opened my eyes to the fact that I could travel to other countries. So that is what I did with a group of friends from my class (whom I met on this trip, not during school). One weekend, we went to Capri and Positano, Italy and that trip was beyond amazing. I learned that Positano, Italy, loves lemons. I got to see the White Grotto. A funny note about Capri, Italy is that I never knew any place on this Earth could have worse drivers than New York City. Capri, Italy has NYC beat by a landslide. Pictured below is me against the landscape of Capri, Italy.