Finally, at Home in the World

Shalise Barnes

Shalise Barnes '17
BA in Global Communications

When my mother thought she was starting to go into labor, she got on a plane from Canada to have me in the United States. Two days later I was on a plane back to Canada. The rest of my childhood continued in the same fashion, only speaking German and French at home to my mother, moving to Salt Lake City but spending half of the year back in Vancouver. When I was old enough to go to school in Salt Lake City, I finally learned English and was only then able to communicate with my dad.

I have three passports and nowhere to call home. I can speak three languages well and bits of a few others, but I fumble for words when asked where I’m from.

A myriad of unfortunate experiences lead me to finish my last year of high school nearly friendless, 50 pounds heavier than usual, but luckily on my way to Paris. The first day of Orientation at AUP I had no interest in meeting anyone new, already feeling excluded by the army of tall, well-dressed people standing outside the classrooms. I sat down in the front of the room next to a girl who seemed to already have met most of the other students. The student advisor entered the room and begun by asking where everyone was from. I rolled my eyes and as I was about to answer, the girl next to me interrupted me and said (yelled) “But like, what do you mean where we’re from. Like where we lived last? Where we were born? Where we lived the longest?” I chimed in saying that I didn’t have anywhere I was really from either. When a handful of other people in the room mentioned that they were in the same situation, I realized I had finally found a home.

The relationships I've had with my professors have progressed into friendships and will allow me an advantage into the job world that I would not have at any other university. - Shalise Barnes

That girl who sat next to me on the first day of orientation is now one of my best friends. I have since discovered many other people who are in the same circumstances, some others who have voluntarily abandoned their places of birth, and still more who remain close to their families and go home frequently. When asked if I get lonely seeing my family only once a year, I reply that I have made my own family here in Paris.

Thanks to some hard work both in high school and currently taking extra classes, I will be graduating in the spring of 2017 with a major in Global Communications despite this being my second year at AUP. I have had classes at the ancient Roman arenas in Paris; have worked as the Managing Editor of AUP's online news site, and have attended AUP events in some of the most beautiful Hotel Particuliers that I have ever seen. I have had the chance to network with professionals from all over the world, and have worked both for our school’s online news site and in the communications office. The relationships I’ve had with my professors have progressed into friendships and will allow me an advantage into the job world that I would not have at any other university.

After graduation, I plan to remain in Paris until I decide to move my family elsewhere in Europe. The experience I’ve had at AUP and the connections I’ve had through AUP events and professors will be indispensable when I begin working. I will be able to maintain my relationships from AUP throughout the rest of my life. For now, I am happy just to have found a place to call home.

Shalise Barnes

Shalise Barnes '17
BA in Global Communications

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