Most students are lucky if they get to study abroad once during their college years, but Centennial grad Emilie Tomas has done that three times and counting.
Tomas, a former Blaine resident, graduated from Centennial in 2015 and recently graduated from Augsburg University with a degree in psychology and concentrations in social and clinical psychology. Her love of traveling comes from the fact that her grandmother was born in France, and her father spent one of his summers there.
“I have family that travels a lot and I was really jealous seeing the pictures all the time,” she said.
In high school, Tomas finally got the chance to start traveling and went to Haiti with her father in 2012 and 2014. High school is also where she found her love of psychology through an Advanced Placement (AP) course. “I really liked it. I found it very interesting,” she said.
In May of 2017, Tomas spent two weeks in Slovenia learning about the differences and similarities between psychology and education in Slovenia and the U.S. It was on that trip that she got to visit Croatia and Venice, Italy.
In the spring of 2018, Tomas studied abroad in Greece. “It was a great experience, but it wasn't super challenging. I was staying with Americans and didn't get to learn much Greek,” she said. At the end of the trip, she spent six weeks traveling around France with her grandmother and sister. “That got me out of my comfort zone a little bit more,” she recalled.
This March, Tomas was invited to go on a 10-day tour through Israel and Palestine. “It was an incredible trip. It was only 10 days, but I think that was one of the deepest experiences I have had so far,” she said.
Now, on July 28, Tomas will head to Indonesia for 10 months as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. She will be based at a high school called SMA Unggul Del in Toba Samosir right off of Lake Toba, a beautiful lake created by a supervolcano.
“I still see myself as really excited to learn and learn from travel. I'm excited to have a really deep cultural exchange,” Tomas said. “At the end of the day, I think that I am going to learn a lot more out of this experience and that my community is going to have a lot more to teach me than maybe I will them. Teaching English is sort of what I have to offer in return in order to get that.”
Tomas said she is also eager to learn more about the Indonesian people and develop relationships with them. After returning from Indonesia, Tomas is interested in graduate studies in social psychology and intergroup relations. “I will take time to consider my options and see what a future in applied psychology might look like as well,” she explained.
Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.