Joseph Wagner is an Ambassador who studied abroad in France
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad for many reasons. I intended to minor in the French language, and by going to France, I am very close to obtaining my minor. Many people told me that if I had the opportunity to study abroad that i should try and go, and I had been to France before and I was able to travel and see parts of the country that I had never seen before.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
A cultural experience that will have a lasting impression on me was one of my trips to the market in Cannes, the city in which we lived. I was told that the French people were snobs and did not like Americans, but at the market, I attempted to speak French to the people working, and many people, workers and other shoppers, helped me ask for what I was asking for and also by helping me find other things. It showed me that the French culture is often frowned at by Americans, simply because we do not know enough about the people of France.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I had a fantastic abroad experience. I had a phenomenal group of Bennies and Johnnies, our director was great and led us on amazing excursions and other fun activities, and the location was superb. The college that we lived at was very accommodating, the people who worked there were all very nice, and it was very convenient to have three meals prepared for us a day. Cannes was a very fun city with a lot of things to do, great restaurants, fun festivals and other things we could participate in, and the beach was always fun and relaxing to go to after class.
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
From an academic standpoint, I have come closer to obtaining my minor in French. That is the main benefit of studying abroad for me. My professional development was affected by increasing my ability to work with people who did not speak the same language as me. This allowed me to work on my problem solving skills as well as helping me to see that even if there are issues with a language barrier, that I can still find a solution through hard work and dedication. There were many personal benefits by studying abroad. I gained many new friends, the other Bennies and Johnnies as well as making new international friends, I was able to see a new perspective on many topics, as the French had many different ways of looking at certain topics.
What advice can you offer for CSB|SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
I would say that if is possible, then go for it. It is a commitment financially, but you will not regret going. You will learn a lot by living in a different country and make new friends and memories that will last a life time. Also, once you choose to go and arrive in your host country, throw yourself into the culture. It will be difficult at first, but you will enjoy yourself much more once you start doing things the way the people of the country do it.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in France? Email Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org