Brockport born, Emily Fleming has embraced her hometown, completing her entire schooling from Kindergarten through baccalaureate degree, all in Brockport, NY. Growing up less than a 10 minute drive from campus she became familiar with it, and knew that she wanted to attend Brockport from a young age. But, she knew more than just where she wanted to go to college, she also knew what she wanted to study since childhood.
“I grew up with parents who were absolutely in love with history, which lead me to fall in love with it too” Emily said. “When other kids were going on their family vacations to Disney World, my family was visiting all types of historical and educational museums.”
Emily’s parents had always had a passion for the Civil and Revolutionary war periods, but Emily had passions of her own, Asian, Women’s, and French history; all of these passions still play an integral role on her life today.
Many of Emily’s friends in college were met through Brockport’s International Education Program. Some of her best friends came from all over the world, including Mongolia, Vietnam, France, Malaysia, and Russia. This only further pushed Emily’s interest in learning about history. Even though she was not an international student herself, the international program played an important role in her college career and beyond.
“Brockport’s International Education program played such an important role on my college career and decision to move to France after graduating,” Fleming said. “It helped me form lifetime friendship’s with people from all around the world.”
Stemming from her love as a child for the film, “Ratatouille”, and her passion for French history, Emily set out to fulfill one of her lifetime goals of living in France. This opportunity would never have been possible without the friendships and connections she had made at Brockport. Her friend from France, Oleg, introduced Emily to the Au Pair program. This program allows English speakers to study abroad in their country, with the job to teach young children how to speak English. Students in this program get paid for their work, but more importantly, attend a part-time language program at a local university. While this programs goal is to help you better communicate with the child you are working with, it also helps you better integrate into their society. The program not only teaches you their language, but important cultural norms as well as how to navigate and communicate with other civilians.
“French culture is extremely different than American culture and sometimes the people can come off as cold,” Emily said. “For example, it isn’t normal for a stranger to smile at another stranger for no reason. They expect that you must have some reason to be smiling at them other than just to be friendly!”
Emily’s time in France is now nearing an end, as she is only working on a one year visa. While she has made a childhood dream come true, she is more than happy to return to her hometown of Brockport, NY.
“I really miss the small town feel of living in Brockport compared to a big city,” Emily said. “This experience has taught me to be much more appreciative of all the little things that I took for granted while I lived in Brockport.”
With this life-changing experience behind her, Emily is excited to embark on her next journey. While she doesn’t plan to jump right back into schooling, she definitely isn’t ruling out graduate school as a possibility in the future. Emily has still been in contact with many of her professors since graduation, such as Dr. Stephen Neese and Dr. Martin, who both pushed her to become a better writer. She still stays in contact with Dr. Nishiyama as well.
“I have always wanted to work at a museum, mainly as a curator,” Emily said. “But, I have also started looking into a few master’s programs related to becoming a school counselor since I now have a passion for working with children after being an Au Pair.”
The future is never certain, but Emily has made sure to put herself in the best position possible to succeed, all while being able to complete a life goal.