Growing up, my family encouraged me to learn just as much through the world around me as what I was learning in the classroom, exposing me to different cultures from an early age. It was only a matter of time before I got the travel bug. Study abroad programs and, more importantly, study abroad funding were some of my top priorities when researching which universities to apply to. The first time I toured my home university, I wound up at the Study Abroad Office and I was sold. While I knew I had my family’s support in wanting to go abroad, I also knew it was up to me to find the funds to make it actually happen.
At first, all I could afford was a three-week summer program offered by my university’s faculty. Although I jumped at the opportunity and enjoyed every incredible moment of it, I hadn’t fully satisfied that desire to go abroad. Truthfully, I probably never will. When I got back from that program, I volunteered in the same Study Abroad Office that convinced me to attend Northern Illinois University in the first place. As I searched through program after program to help other students find their right fit, the transparency of CEA when it came to program cost and what’s included made them stand out in my mind. I automatically knew if I was going to go abroad again during university, it was going to be through CEA.
|Learning about "birth trees" on the Fontainebleau day trip|
CEA doesn’t stop at being transparent about program costs. They help make your program a reality. One of the easiest things CEA offers to help out with program costs is offering flight vouchers if you apply by a certain date. I found this extremely useful when planning for weekend trips, as you can use it for multiple flights as long as you book them at the same time. I was also very fortunate to receive the CEA Academic Merit Scholarship. This helped me greatly by lowering program cost to the point I was able to start budgeting for personal trips. CEA has a wide range of scholarships from merit-based to need-based to diversity scholarships. There truly is something for every type of student wanting to go abroad. Not to mention, another great thing CEA does is raise money for their diversity scholarships via their online CEA Shop. Tons of former CEA students have your back in making study abroad a possibility!
|Trip back to Aix-en-Provence thanks to the lucky boar, similar to the one in Florence|
Because of CEA’s options to receive financial help through the flight voucher and scholarships, I was able to thoroughly enjoy everything Paris had to offer. All of the activities and excursions planned by the CEA Paris Center staff are some of my fondest memories from Paris. I even had the chance to go back to the town I previously studied in. There’s a belief that if you touch the snout of the boar statue, a replica of the one in Florence, you are destined to come back one day. I was able to make that belief a reality, thanks to CEA.
Anna Wojciechowski is a CEA Alumni Ambassador who studied abroad in Paris, France, during the Fall 2019 semester. She is currently a student at Northern Illinois University.
Anna Wojciechowski is the Fall 2019 Alumni Ambassador in Paris, France, and is currently studying at Northern Illinois University.