Why did you pick this program?
Camille: I have spent a good majority of my life learning french at an International school in Dallas. I felt like studying abroad would be a great opportunity for me to continue those studies by actually living there for 3 months. I wanted to take that idea even further and challenge myself by taking all french courses.
As I began to look at different study abroad providers, I stumbled across the IES French Studies program that offered all its courses in French. In addition to that, I would have the chance to register for classes at different french universities in Paris.
I knew immediately that IES was the program for me and I am so glad I chose it. The program's administration and professors were so sweet and accommodating. I definitely got what I wanted out of it.
What do you wish someone had told you before you went abroad?
Camille: When I spoke with other students that went abroad, they made studying abroad seem like everyday was perfect. But in fact, there are good days and bad days and THAT'S OKAY. There will be days where you want to go visit everything and explore this new wonderful place but then there will be days where you miss home and the comfort of being in your own country.
I always felt guilty when I had days where I felt that way but in reality, that is life. Everyday won't be perfect but you have to make the best of it. Being abroad in a foreign country is something difficult to do and it's okay to feel out of place or even lost at times.
What was the hardest part about going abroad?
Camille: I think the hardest part about going abroad was the fact that I knew I'd be starting a new experience in a new place all over again. It was already difficult to leave my home in Texas and attend a school where I know absolutely no one. I was able to overcome this obstacle but I found myself facing a similar one as I was preparing for my time abroad.
I knew I would be in a beautiful city but I had no idea who I would meet, whether or not I would like the program, or if I would miss all my friends at school. Of course, I did miss my friends from school but I was able to form new friendships with students both in and outside my program at IES.
I was able to conquer my fears by taking my abroad experience day by day. I soaked up every aspect of being in a foreign country and because of that, I was able to integrate well into the french culture.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Camille: Everyone gets a little ahead of themselves when they are planning their experience abroad. People have this idea that it would be the best thing if they traveled to a new place every weekend. While traveling to new places is always good, I suggest spending less time in other countries and more time in the city and country you are in.
You chose this place for a reason and go remind yourself why! There are endless possibilities and things to do in whatever city you are studying in and make sure you take advantage of them all.
Try and go on all excursions and trips offered to you through your abroad program. Many times the trips they have planned are pretty awesome and they will push you to go somewhere you would have never gone yourself.