Réunion is a region of France that is nowhere near France. On a map, the island appears as a tiny dot east of Madagascar, if it's even on the map at all. Most people from Réunion never leave their dot, but Stacy Boucher '22 has a whole world to explore.
Réunion is a tiny island in the Indian Ocean and the outermost region of the European Union. It's a territory of France and the nearly one million inhabitants speak French, but the island is a 10-hour plane ride from Paris. It's incredibly expensive to travel off the island, so most people don't. On the peaceful and multicultural island, they enjoy the tropical weather, the music, the traditions, and the excellent cuisine. They also tend to marry and have kids young. Stacy loves her home, but she also yearned to experience something more.
Stacy first went to medical school in France and saw snow for the first time when she was 19. Med school wasn't the right fit, so she went to Belgium, then the United States. Stacy watched YouTube videos growing up that, at the time, were her portal to life off the island. Some of her classmates went to college in France, then returned to Réunion. Stacy left and kept going.
"I've missed many of my friends' and family's major events. I'm missing my brothers and sisters growing up. But I saw so many of my cousins and friends live the same life. This is something that I needed to do."
Through Siena's affiliation with CEFAM, an international business school in Lyon, France, Stacy found her way to Loudonville. She loves the community, and tolerates the cold. Recently, a group of international students went ice skating in Albany.
"It was a great experience, but I couldn't feel my legs after a while. It was minus 12 Celsius. I'm not sure what that translates to in Fahrenheit, but it was very cold."
She's decided to stick it out in the Northeast for a bit longer. Stacy already has a job lined up with a wealth management firm in Philadelphia. Before landing the job, she applied to places in Canada, Australia, Japan, and South Korea, to name just a few potential destinations. For now, Philadelphia is the next stop, but certainly not the last. She wants to see more places and explore new cultures. She'd even like to open her own business someday. Where? Absolutely anywhere.
"I just love traveling. I'm not even sure how it started. It's not the case for everyone, and you do have to get out of your comfort zone. Moving can be exhausting. You have to start over, make new friends, but it's important to open your mind, and that's what I love. It's not about taking pictures for me, it's about meeting different people, and discovering and experiencing something new."
Stacy Boucher '22