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Points of Departure: Up the Hill

Pragya Kalla (SAR’14), Leona Al Sayah (CAS’14), and Mariam Maloyan (CAS’14)


In fall 2011, premed majors Pragya Kalla (SAR’14), Leona Al Sayah (CAS’14), and Mariam Maloyan (CAS’14) got to know one another in the mountains of southeastern France. They had come as part of the BU Study Abroad Grenoble Science Program. Because of the program’s expansion, they discovered when they arrived that they were among a few students who were going to have to live atop a steep hill in the town of La Tronche, 40 minutes away.

“We found ourselves not only in a different country,” Kalla says, “but separated from many of the people in our group. The three of us felt like we needed to bond and come together.”

Worried that none of their colleagues in the program would venture that far to visit, the trio hit upon the idea of throwing themed dinner parties in Maloyan’s spacious basement apartment. That proved to be a big hit, and the women continued the tradition of hosting meals for friends long after they returned to campus. However, as Maloyan admits, “Sometimes we also have intimate dinner parties just the three of us.”

The three friends, who jokingly refer to themselves as “the Tronchies”—after the French town they lived in—say that their experience abroad has created a bond for life. They know there are going to be a lot of struggles and hills to climb, they say, and they’re determined to climb them together.

Watch more “Points of Departure” videos here.

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Alan Wong

Alan Wong can be reached at alanwong@bu.edu.

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