Haili Blassinghame is one of 12 students who received a scholarship from the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly in 2015. The second semester of her junior year at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA began in Nice, France (on the French Riviera to be exact), at the end of January. This opportunity is a continuation of her “get away” plan started in high school. She said, “When I was applying for college my senior year of high school, everyone around me told me that I needed to get away. They said to her that it was okay to stay at home, but those who got an education away from home came back more mature, more self-sufficient, and more knowledgeable about the world. Haili said, “I feel as though this concept of ‘getting away’ and leaving your environment to gain a deeper understanding of the world and of yourself can be applied to studying abroad.”

During college, Haili has maintained a 3.8 average out of 4.0. The next five months she will continue her education in international studies. She said about her most adventurous get-away, “Through this life-changing experience, I hope to broaden my understanding of the world and of myself, not only as a student, but also as an individual. Living abroad in Nice will force me to do things that really scare me: speaking in a foreign language more often than my own language, maneuvering through unfamiliar streets, meeting strangers, and eating food I may never otherwise taste.”

Haili has studied French on and off for almost eight years, and improving her French communication skills is an important educational objective. Haili said, “I think being among people from France and other countries as well as America, exploring the city, adopting the French lifestyle, and, most importantly, being on my own will enhance my personal growth. I see this experience abroad as an opportunity to further develop myself in the way that I see and interact with the world and the people in it, how I approach unfamiliar situations, the way I interact with people from different cultures, and how I continue my life and career as a global citizen.”

Haili is a graduate of School Without Walls. She enjoys blogging, reading, and writing. She has also interned with NPR. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in journalism and work as an executive producer for 20th Century FOX news. The community congratulates Haili and will watch for her future “get-aways.” Her parents are Peri Hamlin and Larry Blassinghame. Haili resides in Southwest with her mother.

By: Vyllorya Evans

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