URI senior reflects on experiences around the world
Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862
KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 19, 2006 -- She climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, ran the Nike RunLondon 10K, and rafted on the Zambezi River below Victoria Falls in Zambia. During her four years at the University of Rhode Island, senior Kaylan Sliney has had unique experiences all over the world, as well as the Kingston campus.
“I learned how to walk the fine line between being successful at what I hoped to accomplish and becoming overwhelmed,” said the Southington, Conn. native, who came to URI because of the Centennial Scholarship program.
She rowed for two years with the varsity women’s rowing team, was a copy editor for the student newspaper, and held executive board positions in her sorority. Through her membership in the Golden Key International Honor Society, she helped organize the “Books for Africa” book drive for two semesters, and worked on a home for Habitat for Humanity.
The international business major, not surprisingly, also took advantage of URI’s study abroad program. The summer before her junior year, Sliney participated in the summer immersion program in Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada. Before she went she had never spoken French, and by the time she came back, she was conversationally fluent as a result of being completely surrounded by the language.
In the fall of 2004 she spent the semester in London, taking courses and immersing herself in the British culture.
“London was thriving, diverse, and incredible,” she said. Her best London experience was participating in the 10K challenge, where she ran through the illuminated city at night. While in Europe, she also visited Germany for Oktoberfest and spent her birthday in Paris.
The following semester she studied in South Africa. In addition to climbing Kilimanjaro and rafting by Victoria Falls, she cage-dove among sharks in Gansbaai, climbed the massive orange dunes in the Namib Desert in Namibia, and explored Botswana and Zimbabwe. As an adjunct to her courses, Sliney also taught an entrepreneurship program for unemployed, AIDS-infected mothers for the entire semester.
“It was the most rewarding feeling when participants found jobs,” she said. “The looks on their faces when we created resumes (which they had never even heard of), was out of this world.”
In the fall Sliney will begin graduate studies at American University in Washington, D.C. to obtain a law degree as well as a master’s degree in international affairs. She hopes to eventually work for the United Nations.
“If I could do it all again, I would not change a thing,” she said. “I was really intent on getting a full, well rounded education in college by doing things other than academics, and I feel like I was able to test it all and succeed.”