Why did you decide to study abroad and why did you decide to spend your semester in France specifically?
As a Romance language major, I saw becoming fully immersed in a language as essential to my education. I wanted a program that allowed me to study alongside French students to best improve my language skills.
Tell us about your study abroad experience in and outside of the classroom.
I LOVED speaking French every day and took advantage of all the wonderful food Southern France has to offer! I appreciated how much the French like to enjoy long meals and good conversation, especially that centered around politics. On the other side of things, I encountered more cultural adjustments than I expected; living with a host family was a particularly challenging experience in part due to the different dynamics present in French households. The course structure was also a huge adjustment (my university had 10,000 students) that was hard to accept.
How did you connect your off-campus study with your Bowdoin academics and extracurriculars, both before leaving and upon your return?
Taking French courses before and after my abroad experience was definitely crucial, and attending French Table every week helped me stay connected with French language and culture. I was also able to reflect on my experiences with the OCS office (through Global Ambassadors and otherwise), which was great!
What do you believe was the value of study abroad for you academically and personally?
Studying abroad reinforced my interest in culture and languages and significantly altered my worldview; I now feel much more sure of what motivates me and what is most important to me in my every day life. I became much more appreciative of the learning environment at Bowdoin but also was more aware of how limited that worldview is.
Does international work or travel figure into any of your future plans?
Yes! I'm spending next year in Dakar, Senegal working for the World Food Programme through Princeton in Africa.