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Finding friendships in a challenging time — Corbett scholar Kendall Hutchison-Plovie

June 9, 2020

For the Corbett Exchange Program, as with most exchange programs, COVID-19 brought forth new and  unforeseen complications. From the beginning of this program, my primary goal was to focus on the cross-border connections and making a “second home” in Seattle. While our classes may have been cut short, I still feel that I have achieved this. In fact, when driving around campus and the city (a task that I found particularly daunting when I first arrived) I am now familiar with my surroundings and can even give better directions than some Washington-born friends. Currently, I am still living in Seattle while I complete my UW spring quarter online and find myself desperately missing academic and campus life–more than I would have believed possible.

At UW, I took a mix of courses in American Indigenous studies (AIS) and American history. The majority of my teachers were passionate and engaging, so much so that I found myself seeking out and enrolling in their classes every quarter. Studying U.S. history from Americans, who bring forth unique perspectives, understandings and personal connections, brought these histories to life in a way that was unforgettable. While it is not part of the Corbett program, I would strongly recommend taking one of these classes–regardless of your major–because of how essential it is to situate yourself within the city, region, and country that you’re currently in.

Friends at UW are difficult to make, and the “Seattle freeze” is not something to take lightly. Luckily for me, Cole–a fellow Corbett Fellowship recipient–and I became fast friends. We made sure to take a history class together each quarter, so that when something was just slightly overly-American we could laugh together. We studied together often, and by American Thanksgiving Cole had such a good reputation with my Seattle family that he was invited to join in on our celebration. Eventually, as I learned to overcome the “freeze,” I made other friends at UW as well. And, as my final quarter comes to a close, I am glad to say that one of my biggest takeaways from UW will be the life-long friends that I have picked up over this past year.

While I don’t know what next year will bring us, I do know that this exchange–in whatever form it takes–is worth it. I am incredibly grateful for the friends, the education, and the opportunities this program has given me. I look forward to being an alumni with the Corbett program, and hopefully meeting some of the bright new minds that will join our ranks in the coming years.

The Corbett British Columbia-Washington International Exchange Program Fund provides an opportunity for undergraduate students at the University of Washington to spend two semesters at the University of British Columbia or University of Victoria; and for students from the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria to spend three quarters at the University of Washington.