Wither Wanderer: Mari Renaud-Krutulis

Name: Imara Talor Renaud-Krutulis

Major: English

Hometown: Syracuse, NY

Nickname: Mari

1)      What made you choose mcla?

“I chose MCLA due to the small class sizes- not just a number in a lecture room type deal.”

2)      What is your favorite thing about MCLA?

“My favorite thing at MCLA is the sense of community and getting to know a lot of people around campus!”

3)      You participated in semester at sea - how did that experience enhance your time in college?

“Semester at Sea was great because most students do it when they're juniors or seniors, so I took a couple upper level courses that challenged me and really made me think about the world and what I want. I took a sustainable communities class and in Sweden we saw how all the things we were learning about were applied in real life and how it was working out for them. Also, because we are all on the ship with such small classes you really make connections with people, we had "ship families" where students, faculty, and lifelong learners would have dinner, play games, and talk about life. It was great to have that sense of family while abroad.”

4)      How did that semester differ from your time at MCLA?

“Because it was a summer semester, it went by very fast. We only had class days (apart from a couple days where we would have to stay on the ship while we first docked in the new port to get class days in) while at sea. I did the last summer voyage because it was always such a rush regarding class work, but it was so worth it. It was nice to know that we could do so much, learn so much about the courses, the world, and ourselves in only 60 some-odd days.”

5)      You also studied abroad in South Korea fall semester of 2015. How did that experience enhance your schooling?

“My time at Konkuk University in Seoul was very enlightening to cultural differences since I wasn't just in a port for four days and leaving to the next place, I was there for four months and these were Korean professors. It was very interesting to see the different class culture and style of teaching compared to MCLA. If you asked a question during class you were seen as questioning the professor and their knowledge on the subject, not just wanting to learn more or clarifying something they said to better understand. The Korean students waited until after class was finished to bombard the professor with stuff like that.”

6)      How did it differ from your time at MCLA?

“While I was in Korea there was a real problem with plagiarism on their campus. It baffled me to be honest. Here if you plagiarize it's a serious offence, there it's just another day. The professors don't do papers because of it. I was frustrated when people's presentations were word for word from Sparknotes because I worked my butt off to make sure my work was original and cited properly. Someone asked me to hang out with them one time and when I told them I couldn't, that I had a lot of homework, their response was ‘just copy paste!’”

7)      What are the advantages a student can gain from studying abroad?

“Studying abroad can challenge you in ways you don't think it can. Academically and personally. I think that I learned a lot about who I am, became more comfortable with that, and learned what I do and don't want my future to be due to studying abroad. I now know I want to travel still- I know there is so much I can learn- but I also know that I can't stay in large cities for months at a time. I know I don't want to go back to Korea where it's a very patriarchal society and I'd have to essentially say I was straight and not pansexual since it's not seen as okay to be LGBT. I'd rather not have to keep a part of myself hidden.”

8)      Any tips for someone who wants to study abroad?

“My main tip would be to research the crap out of the program you are looking at. Look at reviews for the program, the school, everything. Start on it early. Look and find travel scholarships you apply to. Most of my stuff was paid through loans and a few small scholarships, but I know that in the past people have gotten scholarships that cover everything. MCLA professors and the faculty for the Study Abroad are great and are always willing to help.”