I studied at l’Université de Caen in Normandy, France for a semester. I chose this program because I wanted to improve my French language skills, as well as explore the French culture and meet new people.
My personal goals from this experience were to meet new people, gain more confidence in myself, and, for once, really step outside my comfort zone. I feel that these goals were met. I met amazing people from all over the world and really pushed myself to break out of my shell- something I never felt ready to do in the past- by participating in more social events and even venturing out alone. For academic goals, I wanted to improve my French verbal and written communication while completing credits for my major. I definitely completed these goals. As for professional goals, I did not really set any before I left, besides maybe having something for my resumé. However, having had so many new experiences, upon my return, I have really begun questioning what direction I would like to go in my professional career.
At UniCaen, there are many opportunities to participate in excursions around Normandy and close to Paris. I visited Versailles, Monet’s House, Honfleur, Etretat, and also a trip exploring how Normandy’s two finest products were made- cheese and apple spirits. These trips were a great opportunity to learn about France from both a cultural and a historical perspective. The ERASMUS group also hosted social events to meet new people. During my time in Caen, I was also able to participate in the Carneval d’Etudient, the largest student carnaval in Europe. It was a fun day spent with friends, dressing in silly costumes, and enjoying music.
Students at Millersville should study abroad because there is nothing more beneficial than building a new perspective of the world. I sometimes feel that we get caught up in our own little bubbles that we forget there is a whole world out there that has a ton to offer us in terms of different ways of thinking and living. Studying abroad really places you in that world. You are there simply to learn and explore, meaning leaving behind some of those responsibilities that can sometimes weigh you down at home, giving sometime to reflect on what direction you should take, but through a new pair of eyes. Also, you get to try new things, and from that, find new things you like.
My advice to students interested in studying abroad is to just go for it. The amount of benefits you reap from this experience is more than you would imagine. I really feel like a new person, with new goals and new views. This experience was priceless. Going to another country is scary and you have to put your life on hold in the United States to experience it, but you will come out of this experience with a different outlook on life and a true understanding of how capable of you are at adapting to a brand new environment.