f
Photo for Nancy Stanley

Nancy Stanley

USA
BA in Humanities, the Arts, and Social Thought '19
Currently: Volunteering for the American Red Cross, planning to work in human services

Where are you from originally and which program were you enrolled in at Bard College Berlin?

I'm from the United States (Colorado), and I was enrolled in the Humanities, the Arts, and Social Thought program (Ethics & Politics).
 
Looking back, what did you most enjoy about your time at Bard College Berlin?

I greatly appreciated the BCB community, as well as the resources that the Bard network provided. My interest in being a part of community activities was met with the college’s willingness to support me as a driven individual. I was able to craft and/or cultivate a handful of committees with help from students, staff, and faculty, such as the BRAVE Counselors (on- and off-campus mental health peer counselors), Museum Club (visiting many of Berlin’s best art, history, and culture museums), and Student Life Committee (bridging the gap between students and staff by funding clubs and further establishing campus culture in a multiplicity of ways). 

The community was the mode by which I could feel at home, grow, learn, and develop as an individual; the size and the makeup of the BCB community make its character one of a kind. 

The study abroad network is undoubtedly one of the best resources BCB has to offer. My two semesters abroad, to the Bard Globalization and International Affairs (BGIA) Program in New York City and then to The American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, allowed me to see in a completely different way, and I was able to apply these skills within BCB especially as I hit the ground running for my senior year. 

How would you describe, in a nutshell, the experience of studying at Bard College Berlin?

Studying at BCB was life-changing. My thinking has shifted - now, the political, philosophical, ethical, cultural, historical, and economic aspects of one situation present themselves. My writing skills have greatly improved, as well as my verbal communications skills. BCB was life-changing because I could choose which tools I would use to better my future: a course on Kant to bring to the table in a world powers discussion, a background in project planning to apply to a field work study, or Ethics & Politics course remnants worked into the background symbolism of a wall-sized painting.

Write briefly about one of your courses that left a lasting impression on you.

Many courses at Bard College Berlin changed my life, but taking Regina Knapp’s Culture Change and Exchange seminar in 2017 taught me more about field research, which led me to write my senior thesis using the same techniques -- during my last two semesters at BCB, I conducted field research via participant observation at Berlin’s largest park and acclaimed “Brache,” Tempelhof Field. There, I studied urban ecology and worked to pull apart the social and cultural connotations with wilderness/nature. I found that locals value their outdoor recreational spaces differently, especially as Berlin continues to grow. All in all, I learned how to mesh my interests in social sciences with those in the natural sciences - skills that have created the platform for my career plans today. 

How do you think the education you received at Bard College Berlin will help you in the future? 

Choosing Bard College Berlin was no where near what was familiar to me: the liberal arts, small-scale, and distant location aspects of the college felt foreign in comparison to my experience. I took a leap to take the road less traveled, and how wise that was. Now, I’m sure my future will be aided by my heightened written and verbal communications skills, as well as my widened scope of interdisciplinary knowledge. I think more globally now, and I’ll forever be grateful to the college for providing me with that perspective.

Where you now and what are you doing?

I am now back in Colorado, planning to work in human services, volunteering for the American Red Cross, and wilderness backpacking.

Any advice you would give to students considering Bard College Berlin?

The advice I would give to anyone considering BCB would be to look inwards and ask what you want - philosophy, politics, ethics, economics, seminars, roundtables, essays, conferences, publications, artworks, communities, clubs, events, changes, traveling, development, discussions; if you are interested in these things, BCB will be your place. BCB is a small college that allows you to grow. Do you want something different, something challenging, something that allows you to reach out to individuals who may not think like you? Are you a doer who loves crafting discussions, plans, and ideas on your own terms? BCB is the place for you.