Alumni Spotlight: Michele Pettis

Alumni Spotlight

We’ve asked some of our Winging It alumni to let us know what they’re up to these days. Here, Michele Pettis ’14 reminisces about her inspiring study abroad experience in New Zealand, and how it prepared her to move out of state for a new job. Watch for more of these features in the coming weeks.


Although I finished the last class I needed to graduate in December 2013, I took one more “class” during the WinterSession: study abroad in New Zealand for two and a half weeks. It was an amazing experience! I knew that New Zealand was a beautiful country, but seeing it firsthand was truly amazing!

Traveling all the way to the other side of the globe was, obviously, a big trip. When I got back home, I took a job that moved me from Rochester, where I had lived my entire life, to Massachusetts. (I’m now the Team Leader in the Cheese Shop at Wegmans in Burlington, MA.) While it wasn’t the same distance as going to New Zealand, it was a big change. I was excited to make a fresh start but also apprehensive. My trip to New Zealand had showed me that you can’t have an adventure without getting out of your comfort zone. Moving to a new town in a new state was no different.

Now that I’ve been living here in Massachusetts for almost two years, I’m glad that I made the move. Would I have still taken the job if I hadn’t gone to New Zealand? Probably, but I wouldn’t have had built the foundation of being open to new experiences.

I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to study abroad. I also encourage you to push yourself to expand your horizons. You never know what you will experience until you get out there in the world.

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A few photos from my New Zealand trip!

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