Anika Michel is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton and was a JFEW SUNY Global Affairs Scholar. She is currently working as a Language Center Assistant at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York City.
We talked to Anika about her experiences as a JFEW Scholar, her proudest accomplishment in college, and what her most memorable experience was. Here is what we found out.
JFEW: What was the most inspirational or memorable experience that you had while in college?
AM: The most memorable experience that I had while at Binghamton was my semester studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain. During my junior year, I studied at the Universidad de Salamanca, a time in which I lived with a host family that spoke no English – making it absolutely necessary that I speak Spanish and became more fluent. I also made friends from Spain and from other parts of the world. I improved my Spanish and I learned a great deal about Spanish culture. I also learned a great deal about myself and what I wanted out of my future career. I realized that I wanted a career that would be in some way linked to international relations and developing cross-cultural connections.
JFEW: What do you wish that you knew then that you knew now?
AM: I wish that during college, especially during my last year of college, I wasn’t so worried about what I was going to do after graduation. I now know that life is going to give you the position or job that you want in due time. I would tell my younger self that it’s important to trust your skills and experience thus far, and believe that good opportunities are on the horizon.
JFEW: What was your proudest accomplishment during your time in college?
AM: One of my proudest accomplishments was getting accepted into the JFEW SUNY Global Affairs Program. The program really introduced me to the field of International Affairs and gave me the foundation to pursue professional opportunities in the field, as well as a graduate degree in the field. I received my Master's in International Relations from Columbia University in 2018. The monthly seminars and the summer internship that the JFEW SUNY Program provided gave me an understanding of the different aspects of foreign policy, as well as the role of women in global affairs.
JFEW: How did your scholarship help you?
AM: The JFEW scholarship was a tremendous help. As someone who comes from a single-parent household, financing my college education depended on student loans, financial aid, and my work-study job. So gaining the scholarship really benefited me in helping to ease the burden of having to borrow extra loans to finance my education. I am very grateful to have had it during my time as an undergraduate student.