Katya Konkol: France

Katya Konkol  ’13, the official winner of the Junior Summer Fellowship, traveled to cities and rural villages across France to study the impact of water pollution on places including Paris, Saint-Brieuc, Saint-Nazaire, Nantes, La Rochelle, Cerbère, and Nice.

“I think this experience has made me less afraid to do things I’ve never done before,” Konkol said.

Konkol was also able to learn more French on her trip, and she feels that she gained a new sense of independence. In order to measure the impact of pollution in the water, Konkol  tested water samples from  different types of cities and compared the pollutants that are in them. The cities she visited were greatly varied, such as Nantes which is a port city and Cerbere which is a small village.

“What I loved most was being able to go to cities that don’t have many foreigners that visit, and experiencing how differently they live and what they use the ocean for,” she said.

Konkol is not fluent in French so she was scared about communicating with everyone, but all the people were “very friendly” and “very kind,” she said.

“My French skills were good enough for me to survive for two weeks in France. I feel like I can do more things on my own now, and that I can rely only on myself.”