Great Interview with Chrissy Fitchett about studying abroad
Here is an interview of Chrissy Fitchett (Photo ’15) from the Office of International Affairs discussing her study abroad experience.
Taken from the International Affairs newsletter:
Where did you study abroad?
I studied abroad in Nepal and Northern India. Most of the time I was based out of Boudha, which is a Tibetan community in Kathmandu, Nepal.
What was one of your biggest takeaways from this experience?
One of the biggest take aways I had from my semester abroad were the relationships I formed. My Tibetan host family in particular made a huge impact on me. Being welcomed with so much love into someone’s home was a very touching experience that taught me a lot about humility, generosity, and to be honest, just generally about being a good human being. My host family truly feels like family to me now, and I’m still regularly in touch with them. Being away from the comforts of home definitely had its ups and downs though. Living in a developing country added another layer to the challenges of studying abroad, especially with trying to schedule homework time around power cut offs and availability. Overall, living abroad taught me a lot about creative problem solving and how to be very independent. I studied abroad with SIT, which stresses the importance of becoming culturally literate in your host country so that you can be basically self-sufficient. The last month of the program was completely independent. After navigating apartment hunting and conducting research in a foreign country, I now feel pretty confident that I can live alone abroad in the future, which is really satisfying.
How has study abroad affected your artwork?
My study abroad experience has been pretty transformative to my personal and professional goals. I chose the program because of an interest that I had in refugee studies and the Tibetan diaspora in particular. The SIT program was actually a wholly academic program, so all my photography work was independent. It was really refreshing to be in such an academically rigorous program that gave me the space to do field research. It was a great change of pace from studio work at MICA. The opportunity to live in such an influential hub of the Tibetan community of Nepal and conduct interviews was really incredible and definitely cemented my interest in Tibetan Studies. My thesis work right now is a photo-documentary about first generation Tibetan Americans, so my study abroad experience was very relevant and is still informing the work I’m producing currently.
What is InterLink?
InterLink is a really cool program MICA offers through International Affairs to help connect international students with the MICA community. In addition to being available as a resource for any questions international students might have, anyone can join me and the three other mentors at weekly events on campus. Even though the InterLink program is designed for international students, anyone is welcome to come along! I think it’s a really great program because it focusses on connecting students to the really great events that are already going on around campus. Especially as a Freshman, I was personally really hesitant to attend events unless I had a group of friends to go with me. InterLink provides that community, so you don’t have to feel intimidated that you might not know anyone at the event.