Program: Studying at Kedge Business School in Bordeaux, France
Why did you choose to study abroad?
I chose to study abroad because I have always loved traveling and seeing places different from where I have always lived. I try to take every opportunity that I am given to get outside my comfort zone and do something new. Studying abroad seemed like the perfect way to accomplish all of these goals at once.
Why did you choose to go to this location?
Bordeaux is a beautiful city with a lot of cool things to see and do. It was also a very affordable program compared to many other Study Abroad programs out there. It allowed me to take a lot of classes that I couldn’t take at my home institution in English, so I didn’t have to worry about taking any language proficiency exams.
What’s the best part about studying abroad? Favorite experience?
The best part of studying abroad is being able to see a whole new part of the world. In Europe, it’s not super expensive or difficult to explore other countries on long weekends. During a week off of classes I was able to take a solo trip around Italy and even got to see some friends from the States who were studying there for the semester.
What did you struggle with? How have you overcome it?
The biggest struggle for me personally was not knowing the language. When I got to France, the only French word I knew was “croissant.” Not everyone speaks English, so there is a lot of guesswork involved in getting around. My hosts also do not speak any English, so there are often communication issues. The only real way to overcome it is just through not being afraid to embarrass yourself and keeping a translator on your phone. I have my Netflix subtitles in French, look up words all the time, and even enrolled in a French class to help me pick the language up quicker. Within a few weeks I could pretty easily get through my everyday interactions- buying breakfast, getting groceries, taking public transport, etc.
What advice do you have for those who want to study abroad?
Just do it if you can. You have a whole semester (or year) where you can jump head-first into everything that makes you nervous. You have a chance to make lifetime connections, but it’s very freeing to be ok with embarrassing yourself in front of people you will never see again. Try local food, learn as much of the language as you can, and get to know the area- both the city where you live and those surrounding you!
What would you suggest to someone with study abroad doubts?
You are significantly more likely to regret not going than you are to regret going. The paperwork and the thought of being away for so long is definitely going to be daunting, but the stories and experiences that you will return with will make everything beyond worth it.