BHC Spotlight: Audrey Bally '21
Major/Minor: Mathematics & Political Science
Hometown: Nice, France
Why you chose BHC (beyond the scholarship benefit)?
I first picked Virginia Wesleyan University, because it checked all of my boxes. I wanted to stay close to the sea (ocean), be on a small campus, and play tennis. I only learned about the BHC, when the coach saw my grades and knew I could get in. I was part of the first cohort, so we did not have the chance to ask other students about the program, but the excitement and the program really amazed me. I could not see myself anywhere else. I really loved the environment, and I loved knowing I would be living with my peers as well as having access to classes that were designed to develop our knowledge on important, current events. I also liked the fact that we were able to decide some part of our program, such that I could be a semester abroad and complete an internship as opposed to research.
What benefits have you gained from the BHC?
BHC helped me to develop my confidence. I have always been very social, but I never felt like I was part of a group. The BHC is like a family, everyone knows each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It is, therefore, very easy to go to one another for help and support, as well as for crazy conversations about different subjects. The BHC also gave me a lot of confidence in my academic work. In prior schooling, teachers have always noticed my work, but I never really liked that. Here at Wesleyan, they ask me to do more and better, which I like. I need to be challenged and that is what professors are doing.
Highlight a specific research, internship, or study abroad experience(s).
I have had the chance to have different internships with high profiled groups, such as NATO and the Sénat in France, but what was the most recognizable experience for me was my semester abroad in Japan. Coming to University, I knew I wanted to go abroad for a semester. I love traveling and discovering new places and cultures. So during my sophomore year when I had to pick a place for my exchange I decided to go as further away as possible and to a place I have never had the chance to go before. My aim was to really push and learn about myself. I spent five months in Tokyo, which was one of the best times in my Life. It is an incredible city. The Japanese are such an incredible population, so different from any others. And my classes were eye opening. I have had the chance to experience different political backgrounds, through my life in France and America, but I never had the chance to really learn about North-Eastern Asia. My classes were all based on Japanese politics and international relations, which I think gave me new perspectives on the whole subject and different from any other candidate either here in the US or back in France.
How did the BHC curriculum or program prepare you for this experience?
The confidence I gained in my personal and academic world have shaped my study abroad experience. I do not think if I were at another university, my experience would have been as great. First of all, I was able to attend one of the top schools in Japan. I do not think many colleges can provide this. And I knew from the classes I have taken at Virginia Wesleyan and the BHC curriculum that wherever I was going I had the sufficient academic skills to do great there. Also, during the summer between my freshman and sophomore year, I was able to take a study away class in Barcelona, Spain with some of my BHC peers, which developed my skills to understand and learn about a culture I priorly did not know and where I am immersed in at the moment.
What do you hope to achieve/gain from this experience?
This experience really built me and strengthened the scope of my future career. I really think it is hard, even in Junior year, to know what we want to do for the rest of our life. This semester abroad experience as well as my years in the BHC helped me to better know myself, what I like and don’t like, and what I would love to do everyday for the coming years. It was my first aim coming to university to develop my knowledge and experience on Political science, but also to determine what I want to do as a job. Now, I can say I am almost certain I want to get a master degree in International Relations and see where the world will get me, but in six months I may change my mind all over again. That is the best part of being surrounded by passionate and smart people. They will convince you that everything is so interesting and you will want to learn more about those things.
List of things involved with on campus (sports teams, clubs, academic competitions/teams, positions held and description of duties)
- Varsity Tennis