“Growing up in a small town (Capac, MI) whose name is remembered by the acrostic Cows And Pigs And Chickens, I had very few opportunities to broaden my horizons. After falling in love with Spanish through the Residential College's intensive language program, I decided to take International Studies 101, and I was hooked. I love that International Studies is such a diverse major, both in terms of the classes you can take and the people you take them with. The more people I met, the more I realized that there isn't really a "stereotypical Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) student." Every PICS student has different interests and goals, but everyone pursues these passions with an international lens and a commitment to influencing positive change as a global citizen.

During my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to live and study in Granada, Spain for a whole semester and it was by far the best experience of my undergrad. My PICS advisor was so helpful, and I was able to travel with the assurance that nearly all my credits would transfer! I'm so thankful to be in a major that encourages its students to take advantage of these kinds of opportunities while supporting them all along the way!

After learning about social justice in many of my PICS courses, I've realized that I want to work in a field that seeks to promote equal rights and freedoms for all. After graduation, I plan to work alongside the local immigrant and refugee populations here in Washtenaw County as a paralegal and advocate for their ability to live and work in the United States free of fear.”

Alana Porter

BA International Studies (International Security, Norms and Cooperation); BA Spanish ‘21

Hometown: Capac, MI

Affiliations: Good News Christian A Cappella, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center

Future plans: “My goal is to go to law school, but I want to take a couple of years off before jumping headfirst into law. In the meantime, I'm looking into paralegal and legal assistant positions with local immigration organizations. I studied abroad in Granada, Spain my sophomore year so I'm super excited to return to Granada, even if temporarily, after things with COVID-19 improve.”

Fondest memory of her experience in PICS: “I don't think I have just one fondest memory of being in PICS, but I would just say I love the flexibility of the Program. I loved being able to pursue all of my interests and meet students in drastically different majors than me. One of my favorite memories is probably when my PICS advisor told me I would be able to study abroad and have most of the classes count. It was a huge weight off my shoulders and the study abroad turned into the most amazing experience of my undergraduate career!”

Is there anything you would like to express to your peers, parents, professors, or others?: “I am so thankful for the ways my parents have supported me throughout college, whether it's sending me surprise care packages or making sure my apartment is conducive to life (that step-stool actually came in handy!) or taking my calls and letting me complain about things that probably won't matter a week from now. I love you both. <3”