How We Talk about Violence Against Women, Trauma, and “Culture”: Study Abroad Reflections

The Thrill is proud to feature personal narratives. Today’s is authored by Biz Berthy ’17. If you have a personal narrative you’d like to share with the Kenyon community, please submit to thekenyonthrill@gmail.com.

Via illinois.edu

The purpose of this editorial is not for me to recount to you my experiences with harassment and violence during my study abroad in Morocco. It has been exhausting to sort through the details of each event for myself, let alone sort through them with you as an audience in mind, too. As we continue to stumble forward in our collective discussions of sexual assault and harassment, I feel that it is much more important for me to discuss the overwhelmingly frustrating interactions I have had with my abroad institution throughout my semester. The institution’s neglectful responses and policies, I believe, point to larger issues of how we talk about violence against women, trauma, and the idea of “culture”. Continue reading

A Requiem For Those Abroad

credit: performingartsabroad.com

They were taken from us too soon.

It seems only weeks ago that the warm smiles of those who have gone to study abroad filled our lives here on the Hill, but now they have gone away. We miss them greatly, but we must take solace in the hope they have made their way to a better place, a happier one, where deadlines are extended until forever and the lines for food are always short. For it is only with this belief that we can carry on our lives in some way, which is what they would have wanted for us to do. Still, it would be appropriate to pause and remember those gone away.

 

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10 o’clock list: Things I Missed While Abroad (But Not Really)

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It’s the first week of Spring semester, and that means one thing: an influx of Juniors back on the Hill. Returning to Kenyon for the first time in months means that Juniors who studied off-campus must become reacquainted with everything they missed while they were gone. And it’s a wonderful time to reflect on the little things that make Kenyon special.

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I Came Back Early From Abroad — And That’s OK.

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I remember touring colleges as a senior in high school. Every tour guide and admissions counselor touted their colleges’ excellent study abroad programs. The statistics were off the charts–50% of juniors go abroad or nearly 80% of this year’s junior class studied off-campus. Great, I thought, Obviously I’ll do the same. Three years later, when it was finally time to make a decision as a sophomore at Kenyon, my thoughts were more or less the same. Everybody goes abroad. The people that don’t? Lame. Afraid. After all, I am a French literature, Anthropology double major. We are globally minded. We are supposed to do these types of things.

With these notions blindly leading the way, I set about choosing my program. Going to France as a French major? Psh. Typical. Europe was decidedly not for me. Having previously studied various parts and aspects of Africa with great interest (and keeping my language requirement in mind), I looked to the vast continent with a population of over a billion people for answers. I narrowed my options down to a program in Senegal and a program in Madagascar–two nations with French as an official language. I eventually dismissed the Senegal program after a friend referred to it as a “white kids in Africa kind of deal” due to its vague focus. Madagascar it was. Continue reading