Meghan 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 because I wanted to have an once-in-a-lifetime adventure. I wanted to experience a new culture, different from the American culture that I have always known, and expand my global perspective. Why France? I have always been curious about the French and their celebrated culture. I was excited to learn that CSB/SJU had an annual program to France. I knew the only way to satisfy my curiosity was to travel to France and experience the culture for myself.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
One weekend I took an independent trip to the Haute Lorie. Initially I was nervous at the idea of relying on my French skills. When I arrived at my destination, I was met by my innkeepers. They were so hospitable and friendly. The wife knew some English and I knew some French, so we were able to communicate. I was surprised at how much French I knew and I was proud with myself for speaking in French. Since I was by myself, my innkeepers let me eat dinner with their family. It was amazing opportunity to experience a short home stay. Overall, I was glad that I took this trip because of the independence and self-confidence that I gained.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I had a very enjoyable and adventurous experience in Cannes, France. The College International de Cannes was a fun, hospitable school. The staff and teachers were very friendly and they did their best to make the College feel like our home in France. The Animation office at the College offered us affordable excursions where we could experience different elements of the French culture. I was able to meet new students, not only from France, but from elsewhere around Europe and the world. My CSB/SJU study abroad group became very close and some of my best friends. I wish that my time abroad never ended!
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?
Thanks to my semester abroad, I feel that I have become more mature, independent, responsible of my time and budget, self-reliant, and self-confident. Academically, I have developed better class participation skills and new argumentative skills in my papers. Professionally, I can adapt to new settings, I can communicate effectively despite language barriers, and I am more open-minded and empathic with the new people that I meet.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
My advice is to engage and experience the French culture and people. While it is important to budget your money, it is also important to budget your time. Four months goes by very quickly when you are living in the fun and exciting culture of France. Do everything that you have always wanted to do. After all, why not?