Faces in the Crowd: Katherine DeFrancesco


Elena Naze, Contributor

During the first semester, most Nashoba students walked the halls of Nashoba, studying for tests and rushing to get to class in the 4 minute time period given. One student, Katherine DeFrancesco, spent her first semester in a study abroad program.  

Katherine DeFrancesco is a Nashoba junior who spent the first semester with 31 other sophomores and juniors from across the country on a semester abroad program. The students traveled to Idaho and Chile through the Alzar school, a school that offers a program where students can leave their “sending schools” and learn outside of the classroom.

When asked why she decided to apply to the program, Katherine commented: “I’ve been living in Bolton for a little while and I was kind of getting bored of my normal daily routine.” She explains how she was ready for a change and the semester program her summer camp counselor told her about seemed like a good fit. “I wanted to try something different out, something not a lot of people have done.”

Katherine went on to say,“they emphasize outdoor and… experiential learning. We went on a lot of expositions and we also spent 6 weeks in Chile doing a cultural exchange.” She explained how what she was learning was different from what she would have done at Nashoba because she was learning things like how to do her own laundry, how to cook for herself, and generally how to be an adult.

DeFrancesco explained that they “had to go grocery shopping and manage a household.” The group got to live in houses with a few other roommates and learn how to care for themselves as there were no adults living with them. She also explained how in Chile, she engaged with Spanish conversation much more than she would have done back in her Nashoba classroom.

She spent 6 weeks in Chile where, for the first month, they did school work, travelling between towns and attending classes in their houses. Katherine also described how she was offered many opportunities to explore her surroundings.  “ We did a lot of exploring of the towns and talking to the people there, just trying to get integrated into the community.”  After the month of school, they flew to Patagonia for the last 18 days where they backpacked and participated in an expedition.  

When asked what she took away from the experience she had to say: “The biggest benefit was I got to break out of my normal routine and from that I discovered what I like to do. At Nashoba I take my normal classes and I do sports, and I pretty much do the same thing every single day. Before I went to Alzar, I didn’t really know what I liked.”  Katherine’s experience was educational, gave her a break from her normal day to day life, and helped her to find herself.