Alumni Spotlight: Alexis O'Sullivan


Alexis loves traveling and has studied abroad in Paris and Sydney. She's always looking for new ways to share her experiences with others.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because it allowed me to intern while I was taking classes. I wanted a program that would help me find job placement and did not require me to be fluent in the language of the country I was studying in. I also liked that their campus was right in the center of Paris, surrounded by museums, shops, and restaurants.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My program provider and university assisted me with placing me in an internship, registering me for classes, and choosing a place to live, along with who my roommates would be. All I had to organize for myself was my flight, and food (meal plans are not provided). I was provided instructions with how to obtain a visa, but had to get one on my own.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

One piece of advice I'd give to someone going on this program is to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. There are days where the weather is going to be cold or rainy, and you may be tempted to stay inside, but make sure you are making the most of your time abroad. Your semester will fly by before you know it!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

As a participant of the study/internship program, you will spend about 9-12 hours a week in class and about 12-15 hours at your internship.

Most classes are only Monday-Thursday but I had my internship seminar on Friday mornings and I sometimes worked afternoons or nights on the weekends. However, I still got off from my job for spring break and internships only last for the first few months of the program, so you will still have plenty of time to travel.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear going abroad was the language barrier.

I had taken a few years of French in high school, but am far from fluent, so I was worried about making a fool of myself when talking to locals. I overcame my fear by taking another French class while I was abroad and practicing as much as I could. Anytime I was in a shop or restaurant I would use as little English as possible. I realized that people were appreciative of my effort and did not feel as bad about struggling and was encouraged to keep trying.

What is one thing that surprised you abroad?

I was very surprised at the café culture.

At first, I wanted to be in and out of a cafe as quick as possible. I just wanted to finish my meal and continue on with my day. It was frustrating to not constantly be checked on and see if I needed my bill. However, I came to appreciate how long I could sit at a table and enjoy myself unbothered, and by the end of the semester, my friends and I would find ourselves spending hours in cafés.