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Kalamazoo College

Bailey Smith


Hometown: Madison Heights, MI
Major: German
Minor: History
Study Abroad: Erlangen, Germany
Best Adjective to Describe You: Thoughtful

In 20 words or less, what is the best thing about being part of this department?
Learning German opens up a whole new part of the world for you to immerse yourself in culturally, linguistically, and philosophically.

What is your advice to first years and sophomores about getting connected to this department?
Our professors are always accessible and passionate about helping students in figuring out their goals.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
Over time here at K I have learned to think critically about a great deal of things pertinent to me, as well as how to express my ideas in a clear and cogent manner.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
My favorite class has been MUSC 155: Music after 1750 by Professor Koehler. It really opened my eyes on the progression of music, both in terms of philosophy and aesthetics, over the course of the past few hundred years. It was a true delight that I can recommend to anyone.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?
The open curriculum has allowed me to take classes in subjects that I had never seriously considered before and helped me find new passions. For example, I was on the rocks as to whether I should take the music class mentioned in my previous question, but after some coaxing I eventually took it and loved it. The reverse is also true, I was able to find out what I didn’t like and adjust my plans around that.  The beauty of the open curriculum is that you are allowed to experiment with your courses from day one to help refine your interests and pursue them further. Regardless of whether or not I enjoyed a subject, the fact that I was able to branch out has helped me consider things from a variety of perspectives. This is a versatility that can come in handy in pretty much any situation.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?
During my time at K I have had internships in various automotive company offices. In Germany, I had an internship with a local tour agency and historical society which I enjoyed to the fullest.

What is your SIP?
My SIP is going to be exploring the idea of a German “special path of development.” This is, in essence, an explanation of why Germany rejected liberalism and democracy in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, instead opting for authoritarian forms of governance.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I plan to go on to graduate school to pursue my love of German history further. Hopefully I can get a job at a museum and make a nice career out of it.

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