One of the questions often asked when students study abroad is how long they should go. I remember being faced with that question when I started planning to go abroad; there were so many options -- from journeys that lasted just a week, to ones that spanned a few weeks, a semester, and even an entire academic year. Whatever amount of time you get abroad is extremely valuable; however, there are many benefits to studying abroad for a semester that I will discuss below.
Deciding to study abroad for a semester was not easy, in fact, I had many doubts. Concerns about friendships, fear of missing out on things at school, and concerns about missing home among other things came to mind. For me, they were concerns I had till the day I left, but once I hit the ground in the French Riviera where I studied, my eyes were truly opened to the benefit of the decision I had made.
One of the first benefits I found in studying abroad in France for an entire semester was my integration into the culture. Let’s face it: we all have culture shock when we are in a new place on our own. For myself and many of my peers, it took a while to get assimilated into the daily life of France. Had we just been there for a little bit, it would have been hard to fully live the French culture, and on top of that, our program had the opportunity to experience more than one season and multiple holiday events with the French making it feel like we really lived the French life.
Another great benefit was the amount I was able to grow as a person over four months. Studying abroad is a life-changing experience. It is meant to challenge you and allow you to face the unknown. After four months, I felt like a totally different person. Things like navigating public transportation or even cooking meals on my own came so easily. Upon coming home, I felt like a true adult for once in my life. Not only were my parents proud of my growth, but now I feel like I can successfully live on my own when I graduate in a few short months. This is a benefit that everyone in my CEA program felt and is a huge reason to take a semester abroad.
I could go on and on about benefits, but the last one is truly the one of the best parts of studying abroad for a semester. The number of things that you can do and see are almost endless. With CEA Study Sbroad, you will be sure to see many things and experience many adventures. After my trip in the French Riviera, I felt like I had seen the entirety of the south of France. Our site advisor Kristin took us everywhere, and it seemed like every other weekend we were on an excursion provided by CEA. On top of that, when I wasn’t traveling with CEA, I was able to travel to other parts of Europe affordably. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go see the world that I would not have gotten without being in Europe for an entire semester.
The benefits of studying abroad for a semester are nearly endless. Whether it’s the culture, the amount you grow, the traveling you do, or something else, being abroad for a semester is an amazing opportunity. However, any amount of time abroad is valuable, and if you’re thinking of studying abroad in French Riviera, you should do it. Go for a semester if you can!
Jared Hoffman is a CEA Alumni Ambassador who studied abroad in the French Riviera, France, during the Fall 2019 semester. He is currently a student at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.
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