Alumni Spotlight: Kelsey Fortier


As a senior from the University of Michigan, Kelsey will be graduating with an Environmental Science degree. She is from Grand Haven, Michigan, a small town on Lake Michigan. Her favorite dance move is a combination of the shopping cart and the sprinkler.

Why did you pick this program?

Kelsey: I picked ISA Barcelona for a multitude of reasons. I wanted to live in a vibrant city, but also have access to mountains and water, and Barcelona had that perfect combination. ISA was one of the companies that stood out to me when I was doing research of programs because of everything they included and because of how genuinely nice and helpful they were.

What do you wish someone had told you before you went abroad?

Kelsey: I wish someone had told me to travel less while I was in Barcelona because there's time to travel before or after. While, I was there, I wish I would have spent more weekends taking in all of Barcelona instead of leaving every weekend. I think I would have discovered much more about the city.

What is the most important thing you learned abroad?

Kelsey: The most important thing I learned abroad was to be open. When you're in a new place with new people there are so many moments where you might feel uncomfortable, but I learned those situations were actually the most rewarding. If you're open to these experiences, you learn so much about yourself, the city/town you're in, and the people you're with. I think it's one of those life lessons you can only learn while you're abroad.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Kelsey: You NEED to go!!! There is no better time to go another place and study. I know money can be a really big concern when thinking about studying abroad, but you're young and it's just you (you don't have a spouse or kids). There won't be as many opportunities in your life to do something like this.

I also tell them that I learned more studying abroad, in school and in life, than I have here at my university. I learned lessons that I will remember for the rest of my life, in comparison to memorizing facts for test and forgetting them the next day.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

Kelsey: Someone ask me for directions once, but they only spoke Italian, Norwegian, and very little English. So I tried, knowing English, a little Spanish, and tiny tiny amount of Norwegian, to give them directions. The conversation was a bit chaotic and quite funny. It made me appreciate the beauty of being able to communicate despite speaking different languages.