Tag Archives: study abroad in paris

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A response: 4 Signs You Should Not Study Abroad by USA Today

(photo by imgarcade.com)

When the headline “4 Signs You Should Not Study Abroad” appeared on my laptop screen, I felt like the author was speaking directly to me. I know what the title read but in my mind I felt the author was really saying “Andrea, you shouldn’t have studied abroad and here are 4 reasons why not.” As the poster child for someone who wasn’t prepared to study abroad for a year, this article appeared to be directed at me. So, naturally I had to find out what Erika Cirino (that’s the article’s author) had to say about us undesirable candidates for studying abroad.

 Finger-Pointing(You should not be studying abroad according to this article. manofdepravity.com)

The story starts just like this, “As you likely realize, studying abroad is a popular educational experience. Many colleges and universities offer an array of interesting overseas programs, and they encourage their students to take advantage at least once during the course of their academic careers.

[…]

You may wonder if you should study abroad, but before you begin packing your bags, check for the following four signs that may indicate an overseas experience is notfor you.”

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I re-read that last sentence over and over, concentrating on the only word in bold in it- “not”. Ms. Cirino clearly wanted “you” to know what you should “not” be doing. Before continuing on with the story, I did a quick glance down to the bottom to see the author bio. I couldn’t find anywhere where Ms. Cirino studied abroad or how she has this specific knowledge on what types of students should and should not study abroad. But, trying to give the benefit of the doubt, I went back to reading the article. In 460 words, Ms. Cirino tells us why we (myself and students like me) should not study abroad. She breaks it down into 4 categories:

1- you easily become homesick

2-you dislike change and uncertainty

3-your funds are limited

4-your time is better spent elsewhere

I understand what Ms. Cirino is saying. However, she couldn’t be more wrong when it comes to her first 2 points. Per this article, I should not have studied in Paris for a year. Homesickness- check! Dislike for change and uncertainty- double check! In her article, Ms. Cirino is missing the fact that many American study abroad programs don’t prepare students for the cultural immersion process and the experience of being alone for the 1st time in their lives. Although Ms. Cirino makes excellent points, she is forgoing the reasons they exist and ways to prevent or handle them.

skills(photo by www.thestaffingstream.com)

If an introvert or loner student looking to gain skills and knowledge from a study abroad for their career came across this article, he or she may be dissuaded from studying abroad. The point of studying abroad is to gain professional skills and personal growth. Wouldn’t learning how to be away from your parents and adapt to change only help a student in their personal and professional life? I was absolutely floored that a writer for a college platform would actually encourage students to not take a once in a lifetime opportunity instead of preparing for it. According to Ms. Cirino’s article I should not have studied abroad. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have a job as a Paris study abroad expert; I wouldn’t have become the woman I am today; I wouldn’t be able to speak French; I wouldn’t know how to accept and not judge other cultures; and I wouldn’t know how to adapt to change. Staying home to avoid home sickness and change would have been extremely beneficial (sarcastic tone dripping in each word).

Important-Rubber-Stamp(photo by www.ashworthroad.com)

I’m very happy that USA Today- College featured this article. It shows me how important my study abroad work is by talking about the mental and emotional preparations for study abroad students so that they aren’t discouraged from this experience; but, instead, are better prepared for it.

  
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Is Technology a Study Abroad Student’s Friend or Foe?

(photo by spongebob.wikia.com)

Every American student under 30 can tell you that technology is the key to social interaction and information. In the United States, email and websites are the norm when it comes to intra-collegiate information exchange and communication. So it’s no surprise that studying abroad has hopped on the technology band wagon, too. On November 3rd, I participated in a lively and engaging twitter chat #ISACHAT about the pros of technology in a study abroad. We were able to come up with many ways technology has enriched studying abroad for the better such as:

  • Ease and speed of finding out information
  • Cost effective for communicating with family
  • Connects students with other students, resources and program advisers much faster
  • Helps students discover hobbies like writing and photography and allows them to share these hobbies with the world

 

With pros like that, how can there be any cons? In a recent article/interview by Vermont Public Radio Educators Worry Technology Hampers Study Abroad Experience, multiple educators speak their minds on the negative effects technology has had on the study abroad experience. Some of the disadvantages they’ve observed first hand are:

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  • Deepens homesickness
  • Makes students more anxious while waiting for an immediate response back from loved ones via email or text
  • Lessens communication between students and others as can simply text instead of talking on phone or sometimes in person
  • Distracts students from the experience part of a study abroad as too busy with social media/ taking pictures to really immerse into the host culture
  • As spending so much time on social media/ connecting with family, students aren’t able to really improve their foreign language skills as the majority of their interactions are in their native tongue
  • Because of ease and speed with which students can connect with their parents, students are missing out on the growing up aspect as they’re calling their parents for assistance instead of figuring it out on their own

 

cell(photo by: mashable.com)

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When we compare the 2 lists, it looks as though there are more cons to technology and its impact on a study abroad than advantages. This can be the case if you don’t consciously unplug on a weekly if not daily basis at home and while abroad. It’s great to be connected but it’s important to be alone and to be with others sans devices. Our generation has completely adopted technology and social media to the extent that it overruns our lives instead of adding to it. Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity- don’t waste it behind a screen. Go and experience the new culture, the new language and leave that phone/ laptop behind more often to avoid a technologically driven study abroad.

  
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Help Twenty in Paris Become the Best Paris Study Abroad Website

(photo by: myslbc.org)

Over the past few months, I have received some great feedback from many of you regarding the Twenty in Paris website. I haven’t forgotten about your recommendations, in fact, I really want to tailor this site to your expectations and needs. Your tips have really been a great start but to really make Twenty in Paris the best Paris study abroad site, I need to find out some more information from you. This is your chance to have hands-on input to really make this website what you want it to be so that it can best help you prepare for the amazing journey that is living and studying in Paris at the age of 20. So how can your opinion be heard? Fill out the 10 question survey below. You can complete the survey anonymously but readers who sign up for the Twenty in Paris newsletter on the survey (it’s the “Subscribe” box in the right hand side) will be entered in to win a chance for a free copy of Twenty in Paris: A Young American Perspective of Studying Abroad in Paris + the 2 decorative Paris papers below- a great way to dress up your dorm room for FREE!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

 

***Decorative Papers are 27.5″ (Width) x 19.5″ (Height) – perfect for framing, using as a desk liner, a window shade decoration or even a lamp shade pattern.

spoons1parismap

 

Merci bcp!

  
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You are your own best company and other reasons why being alone is important

(photo by: marcyfarrey.com)

If you’re like most twenty-somethings, your main goal is to be social. How can it not be? People have become so dedicated to the idea of being social, websites were created so that you can be social with people in different cities and even countries! Being social or as I like to call it the trend against alone time is the thing to do. But what is the international backlash against being alone? I personally don’t understand it, especially since it is an important aspect of being an adult as well as a key component of the study abroad experience.

In a Google Alert notice in my inbox (seriously- if you haven’t done this already in your Gmail email account you need to. It’s great because the topics that interest you come straight to your email), a head line caught my eye. It read “Why Being Alone is Good- The Most Important Lesson I Learned While Studying Abroad.” The article is written by Lane Florsheim who is a freelance writer. Lane studied abroad in Paris for a semester and lived with a host family. She didn’t live alone and had made friends in her program with whom she hung out often but there was one critical weekend where she decided to be alone; and it changed her life forever. The way she describes this weekend, it was a chance for her to really discover who she was, that it is ok to be alone and how you can still have fun by yourself. Lane’s time in Paris comes to end and she finds herself in NYC after college. Being familiar and unafraid of being alone has made her a more independent and stronger woman and it all comes from her study abroad experience.

Discover-yourself(Finding your comfortable with being alone is powerful. Photo by: www.lifestyleupdated.com)

You see, Lane had never really been alone. In college she lived with a bunch of roommates with whom she was always doing things with. She didn’t do things solo until her study abroad. Although Lane had a very different experience with her host family situation than I did in Paris, her story still shows that studying abroad is very much a solo experience. It is often the first time that we are physically alone, thousands of miles away from everyone we know. Even if you know someone in your program or make a friend quickly, everyone’s experience is unique to them. You’ll have similar stories but no one will have your same exact story and in that sense studying abroad is very much a solo experience.

Before I went abroad, I didn’t have many friends so I always assumed that I was a natural at being alone and would do just fine in Paris. However, I was mistaken. Just because I spent time alone doesn’t mean that I was comfortable or confident in spending time alone. I had never eaten out at a restaurant alone, or gone to a museum or most importantly knew how to cheer myself up when I was feeling glum. Being alone is a fundamental part of the studying abroad- it’s one of the ways that makes it a life changing experience. You learn the most about yourself- your strengths, your weaknesses, new talents, interests as well as gain confidence and strength through spending time with yourself. Although I want every study abroad student to make friends, it’s also important to embrace the solo aspect of this experience.