One of the most important factors I had to consider when it came to studying abroad was academics. Although I was equally as excited for all of the other opportunities that came along with the prospect of studying abroad, I am a college student first with two majors, two minors, and an honors thesis to complete with hopes of graduating in just four years. The program that I am in at CEA, called “Communication, Politics, and Global Issues” in Paris, France, allows me to take a variety of classes that are interesting and culture-specific while still meeting my major and minor requirements.
As a Global Studies major, my focus is on conflict and security studies, with Europe as my area of concentration. This semester I am taking an international relations course called “Globalization: Politics, Culture, and Global Governance,” which fulfills a major requirement. I am also taking an art history class called “Haute Couture in Paris: History of Style and Fashion,” which counts towards my European Studies requirements.
With my minor in Advertising and Public Relations, I have been able to fulfill two of my communication elective requirements with the classes “Media and Democracy in the Digital Age” and “Mass Media and the Fashion Industry.” These classes not only satisfy requirements, but appeal to my own personal interests and allow me to explore new ideas.
I have also been learning French for the past six years, and am minoring in the language, and there is no place better to continue these studies than in France. Besides my Advanced French course, the total immersion that comes along with the study abroad in Paris experience has already increased my familiarity with the language. Whether it be taking the Metro or ordering croque-monsieurs at a café, being able to speak the language has proved to be incredibly helpful, while the constant exposure has helped me learn more words and become more comfortable with the language each day.
Studying abroad in Paris has enhanced my world view already, and has helped me view my studies in a different light. The European perspective, as opposed to the American way that I am comfortable with, has taken me outside of my comfort zone and exposed me to new ways of thinking. Taking these classes with both French and American professors and students from around the world has helped with this exposure to different perspectives and ideas. Studying abroad with CEA has allowed me to take a wide variety of classes that both fulfill my requirements and have a true European study experience, including finding French internet cafés to study in every week!
Annelise Silkaitis is the Spring 2020 CEA MOJO Blogger in Paris, France, and is currently studying at University of South Carolina Columbia.