Cecilia De Boeck
International and Area Studies
Hometown: Iowa City, IA
Major: International & Area Studies
Study Abroad: Quito, Ecuador
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Cappuccino
Best Adjective to Describe You: Adventurous
In 15 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
The IAS major draws from many different disciplines, teaching one to think from varying perspectives.
What initially drew you to this department? What keeps you coming back?
Initially, I was drawn to the IAS department because I knew that I wanted to do something with an international focus so IAS seemed like the most logical major. I kept coming back because I liked the way that I was able to take classes from each social science discipline: political science, economics, anthropology, history, psychology, but at the same time, narrow my focus to one region of the world. I think the IAS department at Kalamazoo College is unique in the way that you take classes which provide you with the skills to make connections between different regions and consider international issues while also focusing in on a region that really interests you and learning how that region is or isn't intertwined with others.
What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
A piece of advice for those considering an IAS major or who are early in their IAS major: take into consideration the fact that you cannot do an IAS SIP when choosing a second major or minor and when selecting your classes. Most departments have specific requirements for doing a SIP in that department, and since IAS majors cannot do “IAS” SIPs, it is extra important to plan ahead.
How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
The IAS department connects with work that I've done at two internships, both working with refugees. I would like to live abroad after graduation and I didn't realize that until after completing the required 6 month study abroad. In that way, IAS has helped direct me a bit and helped me realize what my interests are.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
Oh man, the most valuable thing I've learned at K? I think, more than anything, K has taught me to be critical and question things. Not just in an academic setting, but when reading news articles, looking at advertisements, just in my everyday life and interactions. I've become a lot more aware due to the classes I've taken at K.
What has been your favorite class at K? Why?
I've taken many wonderful classes at K and it is hard to choose just one because they aren't all comparable. In terms of being able to be creative and use my imagination, my favorite class I've taken is Intermediate Poetry Workshop because I was able to use skills that I don't often get to use in my other classes. In terms of classes that relate to my academic interests, Human Rights & International Law has been my favorite. I enjoyed this class because it helped me narrow my academic focus and opened my eyes to a topic that I didn't know I was interested in. Additionally, I feel that this class helped me to improve my writing skills.
What is your SIP?
My SIP is focused around refugee resettlement in the United States. I will be analyzing U.S. Refugee resettlement policies and practices. Then, I am going to interview Sudanese refugees who have gone through the process. I am still in the very early stages of my SIP but my aim is to show the way that policy, in this case pertaining to refugees, plays out at the societal level.
What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
My career aspirations...Well, that is a good question and one that I need to think about. I went into the IAS major envisioning myself doing diplomatic work. However, I am no longer sure that that's what I want to do. I have thought about maybe going into the Peace Corps or teaching abroad after graduation. I plan on going to graduate school eventually but would like to take a few years after graduating from K to work, travel, and maybe (hopefully) figure out what exactly I would like to go back to school for.