This past summer I studied abroad in Le Mans, France for a month. I had always known that I wanted to travel, so I took the opportunity to do so. There were ten of us American students and two professors that went with us. We were paired with a group of French students and professors as well. We were fully immersed in French culture and it was seriously amazing. We got to travel to different cities, some a part of our scheduled trip and some we made our own time for (like Paris, of course). Our group ended up being really close, so we got to do a lot of exploring together.
(Outside of Cathedral of Saint Julian in Le Mans, our home city in France)
This time of year is when a lot of people are faced with the decision: to study abroad or not. I would tell you in a heartbeat that you absolutely should. I’ll never be able to list out all of the reasons, but there truly are so many. It’s not like any other family vacation; you get fully immersed in the culture of wherever you are. You don’t just pass in and out of tourist locations, you are a temporary resident. You get to meet awesome people you normally never would.
I’m not going to tell you it is a cheap experience, but it is definitely one of the cheapest ways you’ll ever be able to travel the world. For me, it was worth every penny. I made so many memories and friends. I got to see things I never thought I would and I even conquered some fears (I’m deathly afraid of heights and made it up to the top of the Eiffel Tower).
(On top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France)
It also has some great academic benefits. A lot of programs come with college credit and even internship possibilities. Having study abroad on your resume looks really good to employers, too. I am currently writing a creative nonfiction essay about France for my Senior Honors Project, so I was able to take the experience and turn it into an even better academic opportunity. One of my favorite things I was able to do was write an article about Feminism in France. I was able to ask a lot of my French classmates a series of questions about being a woman in France, and it was such a unique experience. You can read the article here.
(Casually lounging on a staircase in the castle of Chambord)
I knew that I never wanted to look back and regret not doing something. Taking that initial leap of faith can be intimidating, but it’ll be worth it. If you have any general questions about study abroad, France, or my personal experience, feel free to reach out and ask!