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French Spotlight

Kaitlyn Reighley: Dodging the Curve Balls

“I truly believe that no other university, team of professors, and staff could have prepared me the way that Transylvania did.”

If a newfound friend asks you to come to her house for the weekend, do you expect to find yourself hanging out in a 15th century castle?

That’s what happened to Kaitlyn Reighley ’12 when she accepted the invitation while studying in Rennes, France. She was caught off guard in her adopted country at least one other time, when the metro station’s lights went out, the gates closed, and she was locked inside. But Reighley’s ability to manage the unexpected and maintain a cool head helped her successfully maneuver the situation.

It’s those types of “tests” that make you realize how far you’ve come during your four years of college. And, according to Reighley, her experiences at Transylvania prepared her for whatever the vagaries of life abroad might throw at her. 

Reighley credits French professor Simonetta Cochis and Kathy Simon, Transylvania’s director of study abroad and special programs, with providing the encouragement and information for a successful term abroad.

Reighley understands the value of that personal attention. She came from a huge high school where it was easy to get lost in the crowd. At Transylvania, she developed close relationships with professors, swim coaches, and other students.

As Reighley explains, “I love the fact that I knew what my professors sounded like when they were just talking and telling you about their life, and not lecturing. I think this comes from the fact that I mainly heard them lecture in foreign languages, but it fascinated me nonetheless. I saw people on their best and their worst days. The people around me were real people and I knew more about them than their occupation. For me, this is what makes Transylvania an unforgettable experience.

“I went in as an independent young woman with thoughtful ideas and opinions. I left as an even more independent young woman with the ability to start and create change with those thoughtful ideas and opinions, and a new sense of self that no other path could have offered.”

Reighley is not yet sure what her future holds. Her current managers at Costco in Indianapolis, where she's a supervisor, value her language skills and work ethic, and there may be international opportunities for her within the company. She plans to enroll in graduate school by fall 2014, but she has not yet settled on a program.

Having studied both French and Spanish, Reighley has considered working for the FBI or CIA as a language analyst. And she hasn’t forgotten that professor Cochis once told her she has what it takes to be a successful language professor.

But after all her experiences at Transylvania and abroad, Reighley knows that she is “ready for those unexpected curve balls” that life can throw at you.

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