Olivia Woodruff, a 2012 graduate of Schuylerville High School, stopped by her alma mater on Monday, April 3 to share her study abroad experiences with students in Kelly McKinley’s French class.
“I want to give back as much as I can from my experiences,” Woodruff said. “I am very grateful for the many opportunities I’ve had and I want to share with students how they can find similar opportunities.”
Woodruff graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2016, where she majored in French and Francophone Studies and minored in dance and education. While in college, Woodruff had several opportunities to travel abroad. She visited Germany and Poland to study the Holocaust and spent a semester studying abroad in France. Currently, Woodruff is spending nine months working as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Senegal. While working as a teacher assistant in a public school in Saint Louis, Senegal, Olivia has 40-60 students per class and is involved with teaching 10 different classes.
“Moving to Senegal was a huge culture shock,” Woodruff told students. “It’s a challenging experience, but I went into this really wanting to experience a culture and lifestyle very different from the United States and I can’t wait to see where else it takes me.”
Woodruff showed students a slideshow of photos from her travels and pointed out the differences in culture from transportation and schools to food and clothing. She credits her time as a Schuylerville student with her drive, determination and passion for traveling.
“When I went on the France and Spain trip as a sophomore, that’s when my love for traveling began,” Woodruff said. “Beyond that trip, my teachers here at Schuylerville were always supportive and pushed me both academically and personally to be the person I am today.”
Woodruff will return to Senegal on Wednesday, April 5.