First year transitions from Spain to Maine
Newly arrived on the Hill after spending her first semester in Salamanca, Spain, Laramie Maxwell '13 is having fun adjusting to life in Maine. A native of Jacksonville, Wyoming, Maxwell "loved growing up out west," but decided to attend Colby because "for the longest time I've wanted to come to the Northeast," she says.
Though new to Maine, Maxwell is no stranger to living in new places. In addition to studying in Spain this past fall, she lived in Mexico for six months in seventh grade, where she says, "I learned most of my Spanish playing soccer with the neighborhood kids."
When Maxwell got her acceptance letter to Colby in the mail she was mildly disappointed by the fact that she had to spend her first semester at college abroad. She soon became excited to go to Salamanca, "because Spanish is really important to me," she says. "I've lived abroad a couple times now and the hardest thing is bringing back the language and using it."
In addition to Mexico, Maxwell lived in India the summer before her junior year of high school, and spent a year in between high school and college travelling. "My parents put an extraordinary amount of importance on travel," she says. "They used to take us out of school all the time as kids because they believe that actually experiencing other cultures is the best form of education."
During her gap year, Maxwell spent two months travelling with her family in Europe. Their trip included a two-week stay on a biodynamic organic farm in Tuscany, after which they drove up the coast of Italy, staying in small towns along the way. Her family also visited France and travelled throughout northern Spain, before returning to the United States in time for the presidential election, because "my parents are huge Obama fans," she says.
After the election, the family visited Guatemala for two weeks, which gave Maxwell and her siblings a chance to brush up on their Spanish skills. Maxwell spent the following summer months living and working on a farm in Washington, during which she performed manual labor such as cleaning out barn stalls in return for horseback riding lessons.
During her time in Washington, Maxwell competed in numerous horseback riding competitions throughout northern California, and has already joined the equestrian team here at the College. She has also joined the rugby team, "which is completely new, but so far really good," she says.
For JanPlan, Maxwell took a pottery class in which she got to meet a lot of new people while making mugs, bowls and various other things. She spent a lot of her free time skiing at Sugarloaf. "I also really liked broomball, but I definitely need to improve my skills," she says laughingly.
This semester, Maxwell will continue to improve her Spanish by taking a Hispanic literature class, and is signed up for a variety of other classes, including an environmental studies course. She is very interested in environmental studies and feels strongly about the issue of climate change, and she is looking to get involved with the Environmental Coalition on campus.
"Most of my friends will tell you I'm to the point of annoying with environmental stuff," she says, adding that her nickname in high school was "Recycling Nazi." She has considered majoring in environmental studies but is also interested in government and international studies, which ties back in to her expansive travel experience and knowledge of other cultures. Ultimately, "the reason I'm at a liberal arts college is because I'm not entirely sure what I want to do," she says, but she is excited to explore her options.