CEA Directory

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Alex Barbosa

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course abroad would have definitely been Spanish! There is something so fun about struggling together with everyone to speak a new language and learning about a new way of living. When you learn a new language, the world becomes even more accessible to you, and that is truly exciting. My advice would be "to not be afraid to make mistakes!" Learning a new language and the culture that comes with it can be uncomfortable at times, but when people see you trying to learn, they will be on your side. Find someone to practice and/or mentor you on the language to improve. The fastest way to pick up the language is listening to other people and speaking it as much as possible!

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 
My study abroad experience has shaped me into a better human being in my personal life. I am more sensitive to issues outside of the United States and I am more open to different ways of living life. In my career, studying abroad has taught me courage, adaptability, and independence, all of which are key traits employers look for when hiring a new person.
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Alice Johnson

Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture? 
I came into Florence with no idea what to expect. I hadn't traveled much before going to Italy and the only culture I experienced in my life is the native Alaskan culture from my hometowns. This experience was unique in the fact that I was living within the culture. I was not just living in an Italian apartment but also meeting new people from around the world every day. I met Italian people my age and was able to tell them about American "culture" while they recommended the best places to go to eat, etc.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad? 
My favorite course while I was abroad was my Family Business class. My teacher was very interactive and I responded to that style well. The class information related to me because I am taking over my family business and I was able to receive insight into how to go about that. Also, I was able to read about a family business then go and see it. For example, we read about the Ferrari family business, then the next weekend, as a class we went to Modena and visited the Ferrari museum.
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Ally Botwinick

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course abroad was Communication and Global Competence because it gave me the opportunity to meet a student that grew up in Barcelona and is studying English at the University of Barcelona. Having this encounter was very eye-opening for me and gave me a much better understanding of the culture, the school system, and the social norms.

2. What would you tell someone considering studying abroad?
I would say that studying abroad with CEA was the best decision of my life. It gives you the opportunity to go out of your comfort zone, meet new people, get inspired by professors, and go on excursions. The faculty at CEA are extremely accommodating and do their best to make it a smooth transition from America to your temporary home country.
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Amber Bates

Alumni Ambassador
1. What language tips do you have, regarding Czech?
Although I did not study Czech while studying abroad in Prague, I did notice learning a few key phrases was tremendously useful when navigating the city. At first, I was nervous to say even simple things like “Thank you” and “Goodbye” because I knew my pronunciation was horrible. But once I got more comfortable I noticed I received a much warmer response when I attempted to speak the language of the locals. People treated me with much more respect when I simply said “Hello, do you speak in English” in Czech instead of automatically assuming they did. Even just a little bit of effort is greatly appreciated by locals and you will be treated with much more kindness.

2. How would you convince a friend to study abroad? 
If my friends were debating different study abroad options, my strongest argument for CEA would be the sense of community it brings. Even though all the students are spread across the city in different apartments and living situations, I feel like being a part of the CEA program bonded us together. CEA does a wonderful job of creating events and fun spaces where students can come together, share their experiences, and bond. After partaking in some excursions, I would see some familiar faces in my classrooms or on the streets of Prague. Even if we did not know each other, we would stop and chat about being in the same program. It is so comforting feeling like there are friendly faces around a foreign city where you typically wouldn't know people. I was very nervous about meeting people and making friends while studying abroad. However, from the second I got there I never felt alone. I always had a person to turn to or a resource to reach out to if I needed anything which allowed me to make the most of my experience.
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Anastasia Kingsley

Alumni Ambassador
1. What are your best tips for practicing language while abroad? 
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or ask questions. Most locals will appreciate your effort to speak their native language with them, even if you mess up. The best way to really become comfortable and fluent with a language is to practice speaking it, so take every opportunity you can to practice in different settings, whether that’s in the classroom, with your host family, or out in public. And be confident! Don’t rely on that one friend who you *think* is better at speaking than everyone else. Give your best effort yourself. 
Also, if you live with a host family, take advantage of conversations you can have with them. In my experience, I found that I had the most diverse kinds of conversation with my host family about everything from politics and religion to culture, food, and music, if you do it respectfully and with an open mind. It’s a safe space to practice both speaking and listening, and to pick up so much new vocabulary.

2. What would you say to others who are considering studying abroad? 
Study abroad can be a life-changing experience, but it really depends on what you make out of it. You have the opportunity to grow as a person, but it all depends on your attitude. The world is a really big place; anywhere you go you’ll find amazing places to see, things to do, new foods to try, people to meet and you’ll do unexpected things you never thought you would do. More than just taking a culture class or learning a new language, study abroad will make you more open-minded, give you a new perspective on the world, and help you understand other people and cultures better. 

3. Favorite class?
The Transition: From Franco’s Dictatorship to the Democracy of Today’s Spain
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Angela D'Amato

Alumni Ambassador
1. What would you tell someone considering studying abroad? 
I would tell a friend to study abroad because it is a life-changing experience. There is so much more to the world than just America and what we're used to. Not only are you able to learn about a new culture but you also find out more about yourself. It doesn't matter where you study because no location is the same and each place will teach you many different things that you can't learn anywhere else. Study abroad has been one of the greatest experience in my life and I highly recommend looking at all the different places that are available and seeing where the world could take you.
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Anne-Watkins Tyson

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course while abroad?
My favorite course abroad was Media and Conflict. For many reasons, I felt like I belonged in this course more than any other course I had ever taken. The professor had a life of experience within the Communications field and experiences around the world, and he gladly shared them with us. He made Communications bigger than just a course or field or career for me. He presented it as a passion that affects every single person globally. This course changed the way that I learn, see and communicate everything. Even if Communication or Media or Journalism are not your passions, it is the most interesting course!

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
My study abroad experience is the one of the most educational experiences of my college years so far. The classes were interesting, thought-provoking and challenging, yet outside the classroom is what shaped me the most. Temporarily joining a culture that was completely different than everything I knew made me appreciate the little things so much. I grew to love the Madeleine woman's 'bon matin!', I looked forward to the Cathedral's bells ringing right as I walked out of my Communications course and I smiled every morning when I smelled the fresh croissants at the neighborhood boulangerie. My passion for knowing and learning was enhanced greatly when I was abroad. In both my career and personal lives, my confidence grew after my summer in France. I became more independent, more appreciative, and more curious.
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Anthony Rotolo

Alumni Ambassador
*Ask me about Internships!
1. What are your best language tips? 
I took 3 years of Spanish in high school and never once felt confident conversing in the language. After one semester studying Italian in Florence, Italy, I am very confident in my Italian language skills and am comfortable walking into a conversation in Italian! Learning a language in a place where that language is the primary spoken language is 10x easier than learning it in a classroom in the States. Every day after walking out of class you can practice what you learned with locals. You need to learn how to read signs and store names in Italian to get by. Your mind is not only thinking about the language while you are in class, it is thinking about it everywhere you go every day. I also practiced Italian at my internship abroad and with my family in Southern Italy who spoke no English! By the end of the semester I was so comfortable in Italian that during my travels after I met Italians and carried conversations solely in Italian! I am amazed by how well I learned Italian while abroad and now I plan to continue with more classes at my home institution!

2. What would you say if you had 60 seconds to convince a friend to study abroad?
Study abroad! Just do it! There are certain times in your life when you can do something huge that can have a lasting impact on your life, and this is one of those times. There is a saying, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I have heard this in a different context that I prefer more: “When you are young you have the time and desire to do things, but you don't have the money. When you enter the real world, you have the money and desire to do things but you don't have the time. When you are old you have the money and the time, but you don't have the desire to do them anymore.” Looking at the world we live in, I see this to be true in many cases. If you are fortunate enough to have the financial ability to study abroad, you need to take advantage of the opportunity. Before you know it, you will be working a full-time job and your time might be completely consumed. This experience will open your mind to the different possibilities of life in this world! This experience taught me that the saying I mentioned before, about youth being wasted on the young, is not true in all cultures. It opened my mind to the possibility of a different lifestyle. It sprouted new career ideas in my mind that I had never thought of before and helped me to abandon many skewed views I had on the world! When else in your life are you going to have the opportunity to live in another country for months at a time! Some people might have that opportunity later in life, but for most of us this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. There is a difference between traveling among foreign countries and living in one! Study abroad, it will change your life!
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Blanca Brosig

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 
One thing I really admired about the way classes were conducted in Spain was that they were very interactive. Although they all encouraged conversation, my favorite class was International Management. My professor prepared lectures where we conducted activities at the end of lecture so we could apply what we learned that day. We were also put into teams and practiced how to present in front of the class. These presentations required us to be interactive with the class and not just show a pre-planned presentation. However, what made this my favorite class was how willing my professor was to interact with us. I’d speak to him after class and would get feedback from him as to how I could improve professionally.

2. What would you say to someone considering study abroad?
What I loved about CEA is the amazing staff. Before I left for Spain, I was guided step-by-step on how to prepare for the following months. From how to apply for my visa to advising me on whether I should do a home-stay or an apartment, the staff was always quick to answer my questions and ease my doubts. However, once in Spain, the start to my study abroad was a shaky one. Apart from being nervous, I left many things unattended at home and, to top it off, I had a stomach virus. A friend of mine recommended that I speak to my program director, so I did. She took me out for coffee, listened to what was going on, and then gave me recommendations on what I should do. Needless to say that what started as a negative experience changed into the best moments I’ve ever had. My program director once described that we were like her children. They took care of every detail so that you were able to focus on learning and exploring.
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Brogan Zochert

Alumni Ambassador
1. What do you wish you had known before going?
Although it can be easy (and exciting) to get caught up in traveling and learning about new cultures, it's important to remember why you're there. Everyone may have different motives, however, mine was to learn the language and embrace the culture. I wish I had realized that it's okay to spend a weekend playing tourist in your own city! It's like a second home to you, so don't be afraid to skip out on a weekend of travel in order to immerse yourself in the culture that you're already in!

2. What would you tell someone considering study abroad?
There are so many things to love about CEA and the program it provides to its students. There are staff members to help guide you every step of the way, whether it's culturally, academically, etc. They always have your best interest in mind. Not only are the academics incredible (how often do you get to take a class about food and wine?), but they offer a lot of opportunities to get to know the culture. From city excursions in and around your country to cooking classes with natives, there is so much to learn and explore. It's a well-rounded program that still gives you the freedom to learn about your new culture in your own way.
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Caitlyn Ward

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course while abroad?
My favorite class had to be my Narrative and Culture class that I took at London South Bank University. Being an English Literature major, this was right up my alley, but it was even more interesting because we touched on British authors that I would normally not read in my analysis classes back at my home university. Reading authors like Dickens, Hardy, and Woolf let me explore the world of London in a literary sense, going along with the new sites and areas I was discovering during my time studying abroad. It was so interesting to read about the world that these authors experienced and the way that they worked to preserve the London that they lived in. Comparing this to the London that I was living in and seeing was something that I quite enjoyed, for I was able to see the evolution of the city not only through my eyes, but through the eyes of a renowned writer. Not only did this give me a better view of London, but it was a class that I quite enjoyed and that also went along with my major.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
My study abroad experience has changed so many things about me. Before coming to London, I had only been out of the country once before, and even though I got a small understanding of other cultures during that week abroad, it has been nothing like this experience. Studying abroad has taught me so many things about myself and the world around me. It has taught me that I am stronger and smarter than I could have ever thought, and that by taking this opportunity, I have so many more doors open in terms of my future. I had such a narrow vision of my future plans before, but being abroad has allowed me to widen my horizons and strive for bigger and better things - things that I have never thought possible before coming to London.
It has also taught me the differences in culture and the differences between countries. There is so much to see, do, and learn in each new culture, and learning about how people in different countries interact and behave gave me a more wide-ranged view on how the world works.
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Carley Kline

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad? 
My favorite class had to be Fashion Marketing and Merchandising because we had the incredible opportunity to visit trade shows in Florence, Italy. We visited the Gucci Garden and were given a detailed tour and history behind the brand. In addition, we worked on a semester-long project that involved creating a new store. Also, we went to various family-owned businesses around the city and met people that truly inspired me to follow my passions. My team and I were able to network in the city and meet some amazing people working in the fashion and retail industry.

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Chloe Jacobs

Alumni Ambassador

1. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

It will change you in the best way possible. Around every corner there is a learning opportunity that exists outside the classroom. There is a difference between vacationing somewhere and traveling there on your own. Staying in hostels, going to grocery stores, and finding local hang outs are all a part of learning about the world in YOUR OWN WAY. There is no right or wrong way to do it. I remember that, when I arrived in Prague, I had no idea what to expect. When we got there and stood on the beautiful Charles Bridge, however, I felt so happy and full of life. I couldn’t wait to walk around Prague Square, attempt to talk to locals, and eat the food. Every place you go becomes a part of you. It will be the best adventure of your life. You will broaden your world, your culture, and discover things about yourself you would didn’t know because you challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone.

2. What was your favorite class abroad?

My favorite class was definitely Spanish, because my teacher made it fun. We were constantly speaking with each other and to her, and she really enjoyed her job and teaching Spanish. Another reason I loved the class so much was because it was filled with international students from all over the world. I made friends from Canada, Kazakhstan, and Romania, and got to know more about their home country through the class and discussions.
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Christina Barnes

Alumni Ambassador

1. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

The best advice I could ever give someone about learning a new language is practice fearlessly. During my time abroad, I limited my own improvement because I was so afraid of saying the wrong thing. I would always get stuck on vocab or conjugations and halt the whole conversation just trying to figure out the past imperfect of “vivir.” This was totally counterproductive and eventually the person I was speaking to would give up and try to guess what I was saying or worse, speak to me in English. Learning my language fearlessly would have been holding longer conversations with my host mom. Engaging fearlessly would have been going to more places where there were more locals than Americans. Persisting fearlessly would be skipping over a word and powering through the conversation. Even if the syntax is horrible, locals understand what you are saying 99% of the time. However, if they don’t, you can try your hand at explaining yourself a different way. The scary thing was choosing to go abroad in the first place. If you can commit to living your life abroad, then being fearless in learning that language is more than possible.

2. One of the best parts about studying abroad? Getting to travel to other cities and countries! Here are my top travel tips:

-Never pay for taxis. A lot of the smaller cities are incredibly walkable and the ones that aren’t have really extensive and inexpensive public transportation systems. Learn how to navigate them.
-Pay the extra money for the places you are staying. The last thing you want after a long day of being on your feet is to walk 40 minutes to your Airbnb because it was the cheaper choice. It’s better for your overall experience if you’re staying closer to the action, even if it means spending a few more bucks.
-Look for places that have a kitchen. Yes, you’ll want to eat out, but, after a few $15 meals, your wallet won’t let you. In moments like those, a kitchen will save you since you can just swing by the local grocery store and DIY with some pasta and tomato sauce.
-Pay for tours. You’ll really appreciate having somebody else organize your day of tourism for you, and oftentimes you get access to skip the line passes which are much appreciated.

 

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Claire Farrell

Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture? 
While I was studying in the French Riviera I took an advanced level French language course and throughout the semester our small class of five went on day trips with our professor (who did not speak any English) to local art museums, restaurants and culturally important places around Nice and Antibes. Doing this really made me engage in local traditions and culture specific to the Nice area, rather than just France and made me appreciate my city.

2. What would you say to someone considering study abroad?
CEA was a great way to study abroad because the opportunities I received from CEA specifically as opposed to through any other program were so unique, like being selected to intern at the Cannes Film Festival and going on excursions to cool places I never would have thought about traveling to, like the provincial regions of France.
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Daniella Matarazzo

Alumni Ambassador

1. What was your favorite class?

My favorite class had to be my photography class. First, Alejandro was a wonderful teacher. You can tell how passionate he is about the topic and that he makes the class not only be interesting but also fun a priority. Photography is something I have always been interested in but have never pursued. This class was perfect for me because it gave me a reason to actually experiment with taking photos. Walking around aimlessly until the perfect picture captured my eye also gave me a chance to explore new parts of the city of Barcelona as well. This class made me realize my love for taking photos and that it is something I want to continue to do when I get back home.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has shaped who I am a lot. The biggest impact that it has had on my life is that it taught me a lot about myself. Studying abroad has made me realize how independent I can be and how much I like challenges. I learned how to plan trips on the fly, pack lightly, and navigate many different public transportation systems. Studying abroad has also really opened my eyes to the world around me. It has shown me that the world is full of amazing, good-hearted people and that there is so much more than what exists in the little bubble of our hometown, school, and friends. Finally, traveling Europe has helped me confirm that one day I would like to move here. I feel as though life here is less about the hustle and bustle and more about enjoying each day as we are given.

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Dayyana Ibragimova

Alumni Insider

1. How has this study abroad experience shaped you?
Studying abroad has shaped me in so many ways! First and foremost, it helped me be more open-minded. Seeing and experiencing different cultures made me realize that there is a lot more to life than the little bubble I lived in. Cultural differences are not weird or irrelevant; they shape who we are. Just because someone else acts or talks differently than me does not make them strange, and that is so cool.

During the CEA trip to Morocco, I saw a completely different culture for the first time in my life. I saw women wearing hijabs, ate delicious lunch at a local family’s house, and rode camels. Those are experiences I had only because I studied abroad.

I learned how to plan trips and be more independent, which are important life-skills I can implement in my life beyond this semester!

2. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?
I studied Spanish while abroad, so I tried to immerse myself in the culture as much as possible. I went to salsa classes, intercambios (where you get to meet Spaniards in spots like the LemonRock Café and practice Spanish, while they practice English), watched movies and TV shows in Spanish with Spanish subtitles on Netflix, and listened to Latin American music!

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Delaney Jenkins

Alumni Ambassador
1. What are your best tips for practicing a language while abroad?
Language was something that worried me prior to my semester abroad. I was at a slight disadvantage because I took Latin in high school, and only took 1 semester of Spanish before studying abroad. However, I was happily surprised after leaving my semester abroad because I felt so much more confident in my Spanish after my semester. While abroad I took a Spanish class, which was a humongous help because my teacher was a native Spanish speaker and was very patient and helpful while answering all my questions. Another aspect that really helped with learning Spanish was always going out of my way to listen in on locals conversation and try to figure out what they were saying. Not to sound noisy or anything, but listening to real life conversation was always very interesting and helpful to me when it came to learning Spanish. When I first arrived in Spain, I was a little timid when it came to engaging in conversations with native Spanish speakers. This is totally normal, but I am so glad I forced myself out of my comfort zone, and start practicing my Spanish through small conversations in Spanish with the locals. I strongly urge anyone studying abroad to try to use the local language, even if it a little nerve wracking, I found majority of the locals find it endearing, and are very welcoming to the conversation.

2. What do you wish you had known before going?
One thing I wish I would have known before beginning my semester abroad was the importance of budgeting, and not excessively overspending. I knew going into the semester that I would be spending more money than usual, but I did not anticipate the volume of spending money I ended up going through. This was no one's fault but my own, but I definitely wish I went into the semester knowing some money-saving hacks that I did not discover until a few months into the semester.
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Diamondnia Mack

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 
My favorite course was International Economics. I am an economics major, and studying the class in a different country, with a more global perspective added another layer of depth and richness to the study of economics.

2. What would you say to a friend considering study abroad?
CEA is adventure, exploration, unconventional learning and really great people all-in-one. Studying abroad with CEA will open your world to all new people, language and cultures, and ways of living that you may have never imagined! Just go!
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Elise Vocke

Alumni Ambassador
1. What would you say to someone considering study abroad?
Picture this: You wake up on a Friday morning after completing your homework for the next week. The weekend is all yours. What do you want to do? Go to a food market? Try a trendy ice cream place you saw pictures of on Instagram? Hit up a museum and see a famous Van Gogh painting? See where tons of people were imprisoned or beheaded? Walk the footsteps of Charles Dickens through Victorian London streets? Shop at the fancy stores on Oxford Street? Go see where Harry Potter was filmed? It is completely up to you and you can’t go wrong. Living in a city that is so rich gives you all these options. The world is out there waiting for you. Unfortunately, when you are older, you may not have the opportunity to see as many places as you can while you are young and abroad for a full semester. You may have a full time job, graduate school, children to take care of, etc. You want to look back and have no regrets. When I studied abroad with CEA, I traveled to ten different countries and traveled to different parts of the UK. These experiences will stay with me my entire life. I feel so independent since I know now I can do it. I grew up and became more mature having to navigate and live on my own in a different country.
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Eliza Jason

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad? 
My favorite course abroad was History of Art II. I selected the course to fulfill a General Education requirement at my home university and expected to do merely that. What I found was that this course not only ignite a love for art, it allowed me to experience my temporary home in a beautiful and unique way. My instructor, a Czech woman, was undeniably passionate about what she was teaching. From the initial moments of the class her excitement was contagious. Each class period, she would lecture for the first hour or so of the class, and then the remaining one or two hours was spent walking around the city to view local architecture, visit museums, or attend exhibits that physically illustrated the concepts she was teaching. Throughout the semester, I marveled at my newfound appreciation for art and architecture. In my weekend travels I was excited to visit a particular museum to see a piece we had discussed, so I could return and share with my professor. I was highly impressed by her ability to express complex words, phrases, and topics in English, her non-native tongue.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 
My study abroad experience has impacted me in so many more ways than I could have ever imagined. I am a Media Communications major with a Writing minor and my career goal is to use media and its influence to positively communicate with one another and the world. My study abroad experience broadened my career objectives to include the global scope. Because of my international education I have considered how I might incorporate my love for travel and cultural exchange with my passion for sharing with one another through media. I have begun researching post-grad media opportunities abroad and considered how useful they could be for my professional development. My study abroad experience empowered me to be an independent, brave, and well-traveled global citizen who understands that the best way to create peace in the world begins when we respect the cultural practices of one another. I now see the interaction of global awareness with my personal vocation and plan to use it in positive ways.
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Emily Trific

Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture? 
I experienced the local culture everyday, by walking to class or taking the tube, grabbing a coffee at a local cafe before class, and sightseeing everyday after class. I took day trips to castles and toured as many palaces as I could. I saw a play, went to a concert at the O2 arena (and climbed it!), and experienced the nightlife whenever I had the chance! The days were long and packed but I would not have had it any other way. Whatever I was doing, even just sitting on Primrose Hill to watch the sunset, I felt like I was immersed in the culture of London. The museums were great, too (and free!), and that gave me a good background to England's history.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
I have learned to step out of my comfort zone at every opportunity, because you truly do not know what could come out of it. I have made so many new friends from all over the world and it was so interesting to hear things from different perspectives, whether it be from a Canadian or an Australian. I also became good friends with someone from Spain and I am so grateful. 
I have also learned so much about the pros and cons of living in the city, thanks to my course "Psychology of City Life". A city, like London, has so much to offer and I learned how to live in the healthiest way while being exposed to stressors in the city. The paper that I wrote for my course will allow me to earn Honors credit back at home, which I am grateful for.
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Emma Jordan

Alumni Ambassador
*You can also ask about my internship in Prague!
1. What are your best tips for learning a language while abroad?
While studying abroad I continued to learn Spanish and finished my minor in Buenos Aires and then I started learning Czech in Prague. Here are some tips for learning a language that works with any language level background. First, talk to people! Even though I only knew a few words and phrases in Czech, native speakers always appreciate when try using their language. Some good ways to do this are to order in the language at restaurants and finding people, like friends from the country or coworkers if at an internship, that will help you practice. Another good way to practice a foreign language is listening to music in that language or watching shows and movies in that language.
When I was in Buenos Aires, I watched a telenovela on Netflix to practice and got a few of my friends to watch with me and we would then talk about the show in Spanish to continue practicing. Finally, take advantage of the opportunities that CEA offers to help you improve. For example, in Buenos Aires, CEA gave all students a pass to a language club where students and locals would practice their Spanish and English.

2. What was your favorite class while abroad?
My favorite class I had while abroad was my internship seminar course I took during my spring semester in Prague. I enjoyed this class for several reasons. First, I loved getting real world experience in the business world abroad. I learned a lot from my coworkers about business norms and customs in Europe, which I hope to use in my future jobs. Second, the internship was a good way to interact with locals. My coworkers would always give me suggestions for things to do and places to go in Prague. The internship was also a good way to practice Czech, since many of my coworkers did not speak any English. Finally, the internship class itself was great. It was a small class so I really got to know the people in it and many of them became some of the closest friends I had abroad. I learned a lot about business, people, and myself during the class. We participated in different activities so we could find out about our learning styles and personalities and how to work with others of the same or different personalities.
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Gabriele Litkauskaite

Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience impacted your life, academics, and/or future career goals?

I’ve always imagined that I would study abroad. While in high school, my teachers described their own travel experiences, and I thought study abroad would be an amazing opportunity. However, when the time came to apply, I wasn’t sure if I would be a great fit. But here I am now, enjoying it more than I ever knew would be possible! As a very determined double major, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to find a program that would help me complete both of my majors on time. With the help of my advisers and the study abroad office at DePaul University, I was able to find a program that fit my needs perfectly, in a country that I had always wanted to visit. While in Madrid for three months, I was enrolled in three Spanish classes and a Political Science class that both fascinated me and made me work harder than ever. I even practiced speaking Spanish in the classroom. As for my future, I don’t yet know where it will take me. The more of the world I see, the more I realize that majoring in Political Sciences and Spanish has been the right choice for me, as I am closer to my goal of working in the Foreign Service. Nevertheless, there is still so much to learn from the world and all the opportunities that are waiting to be discovered!

2. These places/restaurants/sites were a-may-zing! You should not miss them:

The brilliance of Madrid is that the city is at your fingertips. Embrace all that it has to offer and let the Metra take you on a journey through one Madrid stop after the other. One thing that you cannot miss is taking a Salsa/Bachata class at CoCo Bongo every Monday night. While you will be fully immersed in learning about Latin Dance, you will also be meeting other students from all over the world! It’s a great opportunity to branch out and surround yourself by La Vida Madrileña! After the lesson, grab your new friends and head over to Chocolatería San Ginés, because churros taste the best with a hot chocolate, a good group of friends, and a full night of dancing!

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Gemma Gonzalez

Alumni Insider
1. What are your tips for learning a language abroad?
Although I came to Paris with an advanced level of French, there were still areas of the language in which I could improve on, like my accent. My number one tip would be to speak as loudly and clearly as possible. Even if you cannot pronounce a word correctly, it still helps the listener to guess what you are trying to say. They will correct you if you are wrong, and now you know how to pronounce it correctly. When riding the metro, it also helps to repeat the name of each stop after the announcer says it. This way, you will not only learn the places that metro line passes by, but you will also improve your pronunciation. Another tip is to stop by Gibert Jeune Bookstore, by Nôtre Dame. They have a huge selection of gently used and new books in all sorts of genres. Grab a classic like "Le Petit Prince" by Saint-Exupery, or Baudelaire’s "Les Fleurs du Mal" if you are into poetry, and head to Tuileries or the Gardens of Luxembourg to read while enjoying a beautiful and relaxing view.

2. What would you say to someone considering study abroad?
Studying abroad will show you how diverse the world truly is in terms of clothing, food, and art, but also in styles of thinking, behavior, and of approaches to solve problems. This unforgettable experience will enhance your cultural acceptance, which is essential in order to coexist with people who are different than oneself. Not only this, but studying abroad will also show you the great degree of similarity that you have with people in other parts of the world, as they might share the same core values that you possess, or they might be dealing with similar problems.
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Gianna Prainito

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite class had to be Great Masters: Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo because we were rarely in class! The majority of class periods were spent in museums around Florence. We were fortunate enough to visit a plethora of museums ranging from the Uffizi to the hands-on Leonardo da Vinci museum. It was amazing to be able to learn about art pieces while standing in front of them, as well as to walk on the same floor that Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo did. Another incredible aspect of the class was visiting the Vatican while on our Rome overnight and getting a personal tour from our professor. Although the crowds were overwhelming, the Vatican is breathtaking. The class was so fitting for Florence, being the birth place of the Renaissance, and still a continued center for the arts.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 
As a result of studying abroad I learned how naturally independent I am. I love exploring and am so naturally curious and I do not mind doing things on my own. I realized how much I value my family, friends and good food over anything else. There is so much stress and a lot of it unnecessary in life, that it is important to be able to acknowledge what really matters. After coming back from abroad I learned that I need to take time for my mental and physical health. This quarter was incredible in that regard, I took a lighter load in school and focused on myself. I took a ceramics class, went on runs, hiked, camped, backpacked and planted a garden in my backyard. The biggest thing I took away from studying abroad was feeling a lot more secure with who I am as a person and prioritizing my well-being over other things. I learned that if I am in a good space I can make more change and focus on activities that I have a burning passion for.
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Haley Moore

Alumni Ambassador

1. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

If you’re trying to learn a foreign language while you’re studying abroad, don’t be afraid to immerse yourself completely in the language! It may seem overwhelming at first, but it WILL get easier and this is the best way to learn. My CEA site and university offered “intercambios,” where you are paired with a local student. This is a great way to make local friends AND learn the language. I had a Spanish friend who I would make every attempt to speak to in Spanish, and if I made a mistake or ever had any questions I knew I could ask her for clarification. Another way I found that really helped me to improve my comprehension was to listen to reggaetón music! They speak really fast and (full disclosure) are not speaking the prim and proper way that you were probably taught. It’s a fun way to better understand colloquial Spanish. If you aren’t looking to learn Spanish, keep an ear out for what the locals listen to!

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you today?

Anyone who has lived in Spain will tell you the Spanish people live and breathe their favorite phrase: “No pasa nada” (“Don’t worry about it”). For me, as someone who makes a catastrophe of everything, this was, at first, an infuriating mindset to be living amongst. I would feel guilty for hours over forgetting to tell my host mom that I wasn’t eating dinner, but she was never upset. I would anxiously sprint to class if I was just a few minutes behind, but my professors often were usually ten minutes behind me. I would worry that the wait staff wanted us to leave if my friends and I took too long to eat, but the Spanish tend to extend meals to as long as two hours. 

After sometime around the Spanish, however, I learned that perhaps life is better if you savor it. You should never be in such a rush that you can’t stop for a café con leche. You should never be afraid of getting tapas alone (sometimes that’s the best way to do it!). Most importantly: You should never take anything too seriously. 
I used to despise eating alone, and now it’s something I enjoy. That might seem silly to some, but to me, that was huge. No, my anxiety isn’t cured, but studying abroad helped me to see that some of the daily things that I illogically worry about aren’t worth my energy. Eating alone? No pasa nada.


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Isabel Rodgers

Alumni Ambassador
1. What are your tips for learning a language abroad?
My move from the U.S. to Florence was slightly overwhelming. Not only was I expected to navigate and live in an entirely new city miles away from home, but I had to manage all of this without knowing Florence's native language. Taking Beginning Italian helped me to feel more comfortable and adjust quicker than I believe I would have without the class. Although I did not come away from my study abroad experience entirely fluent, I was able to pick up on important words and phrases that allowed me to communicate with and show my respect for the locals who live in the city I was lending my time to. From my positive experiences in intercultural communication, I was able to better understand why CEA Florence made Beginning Italian a requirement for students in the program.

2. What would you tell someone considering study abroad? 
I would tell them that the most important reason to study abroad as a college student is because the time is now. There is no better time to travel to foreign countries and learn about different people, cultures, and issues than when you're young enough -- but old enough. To engage in this type of experience at a college age is unlike engaging in this type of experience at any other age because you can acquire skills and knowledge that will equip you for adulthood and the rest of your life.
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Jazmine Lawrence

Alumni Ambassador
*You can also ask me about my international internship! 

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

My study abroad experience has humbled me and fostered the ability to be present and appreciate my surroundings and the world around me. I was able to meet so many new people and enjoy so many new experiences. For me it really expanded my understanding of the world and I have so much gratitude for my ability to be able to participate in the program. I was able to study, intern, and volunteer.

 

2. What are your tips for learning Spanish abroad?

-Watch television, listen to music/ podcasts, and/ or read books in the language of your host country.

-Make an effort to integrate yourself in the community (sports team, church, acting troupe, etc.)

-Volunteer!

-Make friends with the locals.

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Jessica Budlong

Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
My study abroad experience has changed me both personally, as well as professionally. I have become more open to new experiences, and have become more adventurous. I also found a new trust in humanity because of the experiences I had; When I was in need the most in Aix, someone was there to assist. Professionally, it has opened my eyes to issues around the world. I’ve always wanted to be involved in international affairs, but studying abroad has made me more confident that I can accomplish this, and I can do it anywhere in the world. It has expanded my focus and has driven me to look at more programs abroad as well. It has also proven to me that the issues I care about deeply, are not looked at the same in every country which has shifted the way I address and study these issues. I feel I have grown into a more complete, confident person who can take on anything thrown at her.

2. What was your favorite course while abroad?
My program with CEA was different than most because we had our school professor with us for the month long class we took. Since it was the only course I took, I guess by default it was my favorite. I truly enjoyed it though because we had the opportunity to explore France through literature, guest speakers, and hands on experiences. With the help of Karen, our CEA coordinator, we had lectures on common holiday traditions and immigration issues in France. Each speaker gave me insight into the culture and actual views of the French, rather than what a textbook writer feels. The different literature we read expanded my vocabulary and my knowledge when I understood it. The best part of the course was being able to explore the cities around the southern part of France. Each part of the course helped me understand how a new culture has formed, and transformed throughout the years, something a course on campus couldn’t truly convey.
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Jocelyn Garza

Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
Personally, studying abroad has been the best experience of my life. Having the time to myself, to learn about others, to focus on another culture gave me the ability to enhance my diversity, communication, and awareness skills. I learned a lot through a different style of teaching at Veritas Universidad and I had a lot of fun in every activity I did going to excursions, beaches, and more. In such a short period of time I experienced the good nad the bad, stress due to having to give class presentations, back-to-back fun filled weekends, meeting new people from all over the USA and locals and I was able to find myself as a person. I came back knowing that I am growing into an independent and confident woman in all aspects of my life.

2. What would you tell someone who is considering study abroad?
Do it. An experience is always better lived than told. You're young and in college, so this is your chance to experience something out the ordinary. It will be different, but it will be heart warming and fun. Go for it!
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Jonathan DeMarco

Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 
My study abroad experience has shaped me in more ways than I ever thought it would. You hear of kids coming back from their time abroad calling it “life-changing” and you roll your eyes thinking “we get - you were in Europe,” but it truly is a transformative experience. I am so independent now, far more outgoing and willing to meet and talk to anyone. I am more confident than I ever was, I can plan and execute travel with ease, and I see more clearly now what is important to me in my life. My time abroad has influenced my career path as well. I know with certainty now that I want my job to include travelling, and not just office work. Not only is the life experience incomparable to what I may have learned in the classroom setting at my home university, I am a more versatile student now because I have learned to balance academics with travelling with budgeting with cooking and maintaining an apartment.

2. What would you say to someone considering studying abroad?

The way that we live as Americans, means that almost everybody you know will graduate with a degree and then move on to their full time job with 40 hours a week and two weeks off a year. When in life will you ever have the chance to spend between 4 months to a year in your destination of choice to truly immerse in a different culture and have the opportunity to do all the travelling your wallet will allow without consequence? It’s an experience that will shape who you are for the rest of your life, teach you things that 10 years of university could not, and let you find out who you really are and what you really want to do in life. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that I recommend without hesitation to everyone.
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Jordan Lopez

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite class had to be Differential Equations and Linear Algebra because the teacher was phenomenal. He explained the class very well and he wouldn't leave any student behind. In every lecture it was a guarantee that the professor would stop his lecture to make absolute sure that every question is answered to completion. This class was especially stimulating because we didn't spend so much time on the theory of DiffEQ; but rather, he would give a short lecture, we would do an example problem together, then you get to do a problem on your own. If you're studying Engineering, you shouldn't expect the classes to be overwhelmingly difficult and you will get to know your professors really well.
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Jordan Loria

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course while abroad? 
My favorite course was my organizational behavior course - We had a big group project that I got to work on with a very international group - we worked to study stress levels in different hospitality organizations in our area and what heads of companies were doing to combat stress in the workplace. Everyone in my group was from a different company and it was interesting working with so many ideas stemming from so many different lines of thinking.

2. What would you say to someone considering study abroad?
CEA made my study abroad experience more than I ever could have imagined. I was so excited to find a program that pre-planned excursions that could help me enjoy as much as possible about the country I was staying in. They provided us with an amazing resource (our in-city CEA Director) and she was so fun and incredible and helpful in literally every circumstance. She bent over backwards to get our group together for fun outings and to really enjoy our time in Antibes. You will not find a more supportive system than CEA.
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Juan Mejia

Alumni Ambassador

1. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

Studying abroad not only gave me connections around the world, but it helped me connect with myself. I found the true "me" while abroad for 4 months and could not be happier with what I learned about myself. I got to experience a different culture hands on and was given so many opportunities to immerse myself into it. I think studying abroad will have a lifelong impact on me, because I will always remember walking down the streets of San Jose.

2. How has your study abroad experience impacted your life, academics, and/or future career goals?

When I was abroad, I found out that I wanted to help others a lot more than I once believed I did. In the future, I plan on going back to Costa Rica & Nicaragua to teach English to the youth. It was very interesting to me that in order to get a decent job, you had to have a certain English level. I noticed that a lot of those classes were very expensive or not accessible. Therefore, I made it a goal of mine to open a non-profit organization to teach English to the people of Central America. My experience impacted my academics in a way that cannot be put into words. It made me realize we take for granted the education we get at universities in the US.

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Juliana Wall

Alumni Ambassador
1. What were some ways you experienced the local culture?

Adjusting to life abroad in Italy was exciting as well as daunting. I didn't know any Italian before my semester, so learning the language and the local culture was an adventure from day one. The classes I enrolled in with CEA allowed the opportunity for broader education and applying that knowledge to the local culture. Our Italian language and photography classes often took us outside the classroom into the city to practice Italian with the locals and explore the city. We had to order food and gelato in Italian, and we went to the market to complete assignments. The CEA Rome Center provided so much valuable information regarding living in the city and the staff was always ready to answer any questions students might have.

2. What do you wish you knew before going?
There is a stage during the adjustment period abroad that is very hard, and that is completely normal. Personally, I had to overcome several obstacles during my adjustment period, but the CEA staff were always very supportive and the friends I made in the program made things easier. That period eventually passed, and I had the opportunity to travel to a total of nine countries, including the chance to explore more of Italy and fall in love with Rome.

3. What courses were your favorite? 

I enrolled in the John Cabot Full Curriculum program so I had two classes with CEA and two at John Cabot University. My favorite class with CEA had to be Photography in Rome because we went out into the city once a week to shoot for three hours. As a photographer myself, I absolutely loved it. Our professor was a professional photographer who shared his knowledge of the craft and was always eager to help students. We explored Rome as well as visited museums around the city.

My favorite class at John Cabot had to be Media, Culture, and Society. As a communications major, I'm fascinated with the ever-evolving world of media, especially global media. My professor was an Italian journalist and my classmates came from countries like Bulgaria, Sweden, Kenya, and Italy. In addition to learning traditional media theory, I loved hearing the perspectives of the other students and how certain media is perceived around the world.

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Karime Diaz

Alumni Ambassador
*Ask me about Internships!

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you today?

The way that my study abroad experience has shaped me today is that it has made more patient and curious about other cultures and people. This is also an experience that has helped me grow and gain full independence and confidence to pursue new things and to accomplish my life-long goals. I feel that if I did not take this opportunity, my view of the world and of myself would have stayed narrow. I am so much more adventurous and willing to try new things and to embrace people while still maintaining my values and perspectives.

2. One of the best parts about studying abroad? Getting to travel to other cities and countries! Here are my top travel tips:

The best part about studying abroad are being immersed in a new culture and city and learning about the history and influence it has on the people. I recommend that you always go to the museums and landmarks to really learn about the city and culture. It is also nice that Spain is so close to neighboring countries like France, Italy and Morocco, so weekend trips are pretty cheap and easy to plan!

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Katelyn Huyser

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course?
My favorite class while at SKEMA had to be Organizational Behavior, because I loved my professors, the material, the projects, and the classroom diversity. The professors knew the topics very well and were more than willing to give extra instruction if needed. I thoroughly enjoy learning about psychology and business, and this class was the perfect combination of both. We were required to do a semester long research project related to behavior in the workplace with another student from a different home country. Through this, I learned a ton about working with students from other backgrounds who have different work ethic and more diverse ideas. By the end of our research on gender differences and leadership in the workplace, my partner and I came out with a great friendship, more knowledge on our topic, and a better understanding of effective communication.

2. What would you tell someone considering study abroad?
Unlike most things in life, with CEA you get specific guidelines and helpful instructions to help you through the process of setting up your location, housing, and visa. It may seem intimidating when you look at everything you need to do, but once you get started it’s all straight forward and always works out in the end. There will be hard moments as you’re in an unfamiliar environment away from home, but every second of the experience is beyond worth it. The city you choose to live in will quickly become your home and the other CEA students will become like family. This is one of the rare opportunities in life where you get to live in another country, make friends with people from every side of the globe, and travel to different cities every other weekend. Study abroad is a chance to live a life you create for yourself. It’s a life where you get to know the local shop owners and buy homegrown products at the market every morning. It’s a daily opportunity to practice a different language or learn creative ways of conversing with the café barista. There are people out there waiting to be met and a world that is eager to be explored.
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Kayla Smith

Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
I experienced local culture all the time while abroad - through my own explorations, and also through CEA! I took two classes at CEA, and both of my professors were constantly bringing us out into the city to see and experience exactly what we were learning about. In my architecture class, we experienced France's cultural past. We learned about the history behind dozens of buildings, which helped me understand why French culture is the way it is today. In my world religions class, we learned about the diversity of Parisian culture - we went to several different religious sites, and met tons of people of different religions who decided to make Paris their home. Our CEA excursions gave me a glimpse of French culture outside of the big city - we visited smaller cities and little towns, were I experienced a slower version of French life while still noticing all of the things that connect the French people as a whole. 
Of course when I was not with CEA I was constantly out exploring with my friends. We made it a point to wander sometimes, in order to see the little nooks and crannies of Paris that you only see if you're looking for them. These were my favorite moments - when I found a new fountain or a cool piece of street are, I really started to feel like a local.

2. What are your language tips? 
I studied French at the Sorbonne while I was abroad. Especially for other students learning at the Sorbonne, I would warn you not to expect to learn French the same way you did in the USA. The French do not teach their language in the same way - this is a good thing! While it was a slight shock and something I had to get used to, I learned so much from my Sorbonne professors. There were several elements of the language which I had been struggling to grasp for years which, after my professor explained them in a different way, seemed so easy. My advice is to embrace this new way of learning - the Sorbonne professors are the best in the country. Sorbonne classes are long, and they are every day of the week, but they are worth it and a willing student can learn so much.

3. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 
My study abroad experience brought me completely out of my shell and gave me the confidence I need to jump into my future career. Before going abroad, I was hesitant to try new things, out of fear of failure. While abroad, I had no choice but to do things on my own, from going out and finding a store to going to a church all on my own to volunteer and interview the pastor. When I returned, I noticed a huge difference in my confidence - it was suddenly much easier to write a cover letter, my resume didn't look so empty, I was barely nervous while interviewing for summer internships, even calling my doctor's office was less scary. Making the big jump to a new city all on my own was the first step, but my entire experience abroad gave me a confidence I never thought I would have.
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Kayla Sullivan

Alumni Ambassador
1. What are ways you found to experience the local culture?
One of the main reasons I studied abroad was to immerse myself in another culture. As soon as I got to Prague, I made it my mission to learn as much of the language as possible, take as many Prague-focused classes as possible, eat as much Czech food as possible and speak to as many Czech people as possible. While I was abroad, I was constantly trying new places to eat, new coffee shops and I went to almost every excursion that CEA offered including a guided tour of Prague and a Czech language and culture class. When I was not in class, I was constantly looking for new places in Prague to explore. I would get on the tram or walk to places I had never been before. My favorite cultural experience was one time at my favorite restaurant, I interviewed the waiter about his family background with goulash for a project. It was so cool getting to hear about how he grew up eating goulash and how much it meant to his family.

2. What would you tell someone considering studying abroad? 
First off, CEA was great helping me with my pre-departure needs. I was given an advisor who helped me with each step of the process. She spoke with my parents numerous times about finances, she helped me with getting my classes approved and addressed any concerns I had. I loved that CEA did such a great job immersing everyone at the beginning and created a community for us. There was at least one session every day at the beginning (and once a week later on) about Czech culture, language, tours, etc. that helped ease my transition to Prague and gave me a chance to get to know other students on my program. Also, I loved that CEA partners with Anglo-American University because not only were all of my classes in English, but I got to know other students from all over the world who were studying in Prague, which was my favorite part of school.
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Kayla VonBurg

Alumni Ambassador

1. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

Besides listening to Spanish music, living with a host family, and watching telenovelas, my best advice for someone trying to learn the second language is to listen—on the metro, in the streets, in restaurants—just listen to what people are saying, how they interact with each other. There is so much value to listening to the native speakers around you. This not only expanded my grammatical skills, but it also helped me pick up dialectal phrases and words.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you today?

Before I got on the plane on January 31, 2017, I was the girl who was afraid of her own shadow. I was a doormat and afraid to do things on my own. I was generally fearful for my future. From day one of living in Madrid, I was pushed to do things that were beyond my comfort zone. Between being in a new city, the language barrier, and culture shock, I was forced to grow up in a matter of about a week. I remember calling my mom about a week after I had lived in Madrid, and she told me she had never heard me sound so grown-up. By the time April of my term rolled around, I decided to take a last minute solo trip to Palma de Mallorca and London. This was perhaps the moment that I began to understand how much I had grown from this experience. I realized that I was so capable of being on my own, conquering my fears alone, and being comfortable in my own solitude. Study abroad is not about “finding yourself” as many say. Study abroad is about showing you what you are capable of. I now realize that I can do so much more than I once believed, that I am so much more valuable as a human than I once believed, and, with that in mind, I cannot wait to take that perspective with me for my remaining time in college, for my career, and for the rest of my life.

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Kiara Perez

Alumni Ambassador
1. How did your study abroad experience shape you?
Since being abroad I've realized that it has been an experience that I didn't think I so badly needed. Things from, friends, food, cultural experiences all gave my body an amazing shock. I could have easily spent this semester solely going to class and then returning back to my apartment and letting the days go by, but that is not what study abroad is about. When this amazing opportunity pops up in your life, you really have to take advantage of it. I've been able to adapt to a new location within days and seek something to do most of my days. I truly believe that when I go back home I will be vouching for everyone to go study abroad, it changes your outlook in life and makes you itch for more adventures and has you planning your next trip before you even leave.

2. What are your tips for learning the local language?
I came to Paris to perfect my French. Attending a school that solely taught in French has been very helpful but at the end of the day I needed to do more to make sure it would stick. I make sure to order my food and ask questions in French, even when the locals detect my accent and would switch back to English, I stand my ground and continued speaking in French.
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Lauren MacDonald

Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
While abroad I stayed with a host family that cooked local food and brought me into their world. I was able to get a first hand experience of daily life in Granada being with this family. Also I would go exploring the city when I got a chance and interact with locals.

2. What would you say to someone considering study abroad? 
CEA had the best options for where and what I wanted to study. When I got to my study abroad destination the staff was welcoming and always available to me. The excursions were amazing and eye-opening. My host family was great and became like a second family to me. I was very happy that I chose CEA and was able to have one of the best experiences of my life.
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Lauren Stornelli

Alumni Insider
1. What ways did you find to experience the local culture? 
The local culture that I experienced while I was abroad was very different than that in the United States, but in the best way possible. For me, the biggest difference was the meals. In Spain, lunch is the largest meal of the day consumed between 2:00-3:00PM and dinner is a smaller meal that is eaten around 9:00-10:00PM. In addition, almost the entire city shuts down between 2:00 and 5:00 so that everyone can spend time with their families and eat lunch together. As someone from the Boston area, where everyone rushes around, placing less and less value on eating meals together as a family, I valued this aspect of the culture the most. Not only did I get to know my host family better in this time, but I got to take a break from the fast-paced life and enjoy my family, my meal, and a small siesta. This transfers to other aspects of Spanish culture as well, even down to the way that people walk on the streets. They walk slowly, taking their time and enjoying themselves, rather than rushing around from place to place and living the fast-paced life that Americans are notorious for.

2. What tips do you have for learning the language? 
I was in the Intensive Language Program while in Spain, and I found that the classes took some getting used to. They are very different than the Spanish classes I have taken in the United States. There is no English spoken in the classroom and many of the professors are not fluent in English. This was amazing, because it forced me to speak in Spanish at all times. If the professor didn't understand what I was saying, I had to explain myself and I learned so much from this approach. My tip would be to not get frustrated with the increase in difficulty. It can all be overwhelming at once, especially when everywhere you go, people are speaking Spanish. Even if you don't notice it, you are improving tremendously and you should stick with it.
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Lauren Tifft

Alumni Ambassador
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
It taught me to work better with people from different cultures and helped me learn about cultural differences.

2. What would you tell someone considering study abroad?
Studying abroad gave me the opportunity to visit places I might not ever have been able to see if I hadn’t. I was able to take all of my core classes while learning how different cultures function and I was able to meet so many new people.
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Leah deLeon

Alumni Insider
1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture? 
After spending four months in Paris studying with CEA, I really felt like I lived like a local. I learned how to navigate the metro and RER - whether it was to school, a cute cafe, or to a museum. Instead of texting on my phone during meals or walking around the city, I found myself reading a book, something I never did at home. I enjoyed buying my groceries fresh every Tuesday and Friday at the local farmers' market outside my apartment. I even got to know the merchants and waved to them on my way home from work. The boulangerie next to my apartment recognized me and came to know my order of 'un pain au chocolat' every Monday morning. I also practiced my French daily and found myself able to ask questions, socialize and communicate with strangers without hesitation.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 
Study abroad gave me opportunities to grow as an individual, a creative, and future entrepreneur. I never traveled outside of the country by myself - so this was a huge risk and leap of faith in myself. Leaving my comfort zone of my university and my home allowed me to become more independent. My understanding of the world expanded and my curiosity to understand my cultural roots grew. I discovered a passion for photography through Photography in Paris, and got the opportunity to create promotional videos for a travel company. Study abroad also made me realize that traveling is something I want to continue in my personal and professional life. CEA helped me combine my curiosity and creativity into tangible results.
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Lillie Ross

Alumni Ambassador

1. What has your study abroad experience taught you?

Because of my study abroad experience in Granada, Spain, I have a greater understanding for different cultures around the world. After my trip, I travelled to Amsterdam, Dublin, Barcelona, and Madrid, and by living in Granada for the two months previously, I already had a deeper appreciation for different language, food, and lifestyles. I learned that you must be open to all experiences and willing to learn about yourself and others. It is amazing to meet people from different parts of the world and stay in touch over time because you can never have too many connections. Any preconceived notions or stereotypes about different cultures must be deleted from your brain because there are so many good people in the world, and it could be a missed opportunity if you do not open yourself to all types of people and different cultures.

2. What would you tell others about studying abroad?

If I had one minute to convince a friend to study abroad, I would tell them that no matter where they study, they wouldn't regret it. Being a world traveler and studying in a different country gives you newfound appreciations for different ways of life. It is a skill to be able to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. It can be nerve-wracking at times, but the outcome is so rewarding -- life-time friends, amazing stories, and most importantly, learning about yourself.

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Logan Palmer

Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
During my time in Rome, I tried to find every opportunity I could to experience the local culture. I told myself that I would try one new thing at every restaurant I went to, I explored local farmer’s markets with my classmates, and I experienced the Italian nightlife. I found ways to connect to Rome’s local culture mainly through food, as I ate freshly made pizza, pasta and supplì (stuffed fried rice balls essentially). I also rode the subway and the city’s many other forms of public transportation to get around the city. I found myself at Stadio Olimpico, where I watched A.S. Roma play football and take home the win against Genoa one night in April and I went across town to visit Eatly one afternoon. By immersing myself into Italy’s culture, I was able to feel at home there and it opened up my mind to the world around me. Often times, I would walk around the city and use the little Italian I had learned in order to order gelato or say excuse me. Rome’s local culture was fast-paced, yet friendly and delightful.

2. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course abroad was my Cross-Cultural Management (CCM) course. This course struck me as particularly interesting and it turned out to be my favorite (even over Food & Wine) because of its application to real life and the new perspectives I received from it. In Cross-Cultural Management, we were able to learn from a real professional who has worked across cultures in various parts of the world. Not only did we learn about specific cultures and how members of that culture typically function in a business setting, but we were able to see how different cultures work together and how managers come together to make these relationships work. CCM was my favorite because as I was taking the class, I was also able to walk outside and be immersed in a different culture where I could see first-hand how one specific culture actually functioned and how that lined up with what I was learning in the classroom. I also enjoyed this course because it helped me realize that I want to pursue a career in global management, where I can work and live abroad in differing cultures.
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Mackenzie Phillips

Alumni Ambassador
1. I am super responsible and motivated, so I participated in an internship/volunteer program/service learning program while I was abroad. Here’s how I will use those career-building experiences:

I signed up for the International Internship Program, which allowed me to intern at a Primary International School in Prague. This opportunity opened many new skills and methods I could use and learn from when I enter the education field. The school I interned at used the United Kingdom education method, and it was very different from the United States’. The children at the school came from all parts of the world and they are able to gain cultural sensitivity at an early age. They are used to all types of religions, cultures and races surrounding them every day. In a lot of the American schools, race can be a primary issue since the students are not surrounded by it like international schools are. This is a key skill I would like my classroom or school to learn. I would like the learning of different cultures to be a part of the curriculum so that students in the US will gain cultural sensitivity at an earlier age.

2. What surprised you the most about your host city and culture?

One thing that surprised me was that Prague was different than I imagined it. All the roads are nothing but cobblestone and the city is mainly still traditional. There are some modern things in Prague like malls, expensive shops, clubs, but there are also a lot of traditional areas as well. There is an area in Prague called Wenceslas Square that features lots of shopping and modern things (movie theaters, restaurants, etc.). Not far from it is also that oldest area that exists in Prague called Old Town Square. This whole aspect surprised me as a whole.
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Megan Kruskie

Alumni Ambassador

1. One of the best parts about studying abroad?

Getting to travel to other cities and countries! Here are my top travel tips:

-Buy your tickets in advance. Otherwise, travel can get pretty expensive! 
-Do all you can do when you visit another city. You never know when you'll be back, and you've already made the trip there, so why not take advantage of everything you can? 
-If you're worried about cost, there are always plenty of local things to do or day trips to take. You don't have to spend a lot of money to travel! 
-Don't be scared to travel alone. If you want to go somewhere, go! Obviously be careful, but traveling alone can be fun and teach you a lot about yourself.

2. How has this study abroad experience shaped you?

My experience has really made me think a lot about who I am and what I want to do with my life. While abroad, I definitely questioned the career path I was on more than once, but in a good way. It really opened my eyes to what is important to me. I am definitely more eager to learn other languages and travel as much as I can because once you know what's out there, you can never get enough. There is just so much to learn about the world that you can only experience by traveling. Study abroad has also made me a more outgoing person. When you're alone in a foreign country, you have to put yourself out there to learn about the culture and meet new people. Speaking in a foreign language is not always the most comfortable thing to do, but you learn to work with what you have and always try because if you don't, you won't gain anything.

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Megan Styborski

Alumni Ambassador

1. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

When I first arrived in San José, I think I spoke maybe three words in Spanish. I had studied French in both high school and college, but never any Spanish. I have four big tips for learning a new language while you’re abroad. First, try to learn some before you depart, especially key phrases and vocabulary. Second, bring flashcards with you from home and use them as much as possible. Third, practice as much as you can! It’s easy to talk to friends in your program in English, but try practicing your language with them instead. It also helps a lot to make local friends and practice with them. At first, it’s a bit hard and awkward, but the improvement will blow you mind, and you’ll make life-long friends abroad in the process. Fourth, if you can, use Netflix. At my destination, I watched in English with Spanish subtitles, and it did wonders for me! If you think that you’re ready for it, you can also watch in a foreign language with English subtitles, or just watch in a foreign language alone! You’ll be amazed at how much you pick up.

2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

The first thing I would say is that it’s one of the best ways to kick off a life full of travel. It’s so cost effective considering how long you’re there and how much you get out of it. And for those of you who say it’s too expensive or who think there aren’t many options for your major, don’t worry. I have the answers! First off, yes, studying abroad can be painfully expensive. But it doesn’t need to be! There are so many different destinations and program types, and those factors can have a big impact on the cost. I personally couldn’t afford most of the options in Europe, but I still found a way to go! I barely spent more money abroad then I would’ve at home, and some students save money by going abroad. For those of you who have difficult majors, there are work-arounds! My major was in the health sciences, and I had a lot of difficulty finding an option that was both affordable for me and useful for my major. So instead, I used my time abroad to work on my minor and my honors coursework. I ended up getting an affordable experience while also getting an academically valuable experience. It’s completely possible on both counts. In addition to all of that, studying abroad does so much for you as a person. You mature in so many ways, from traits like confidence and independence to being able to live off a backpack full of bare necessities. You develop a global awareness and understanding that is completely irreplaceable and highly valuable for the rest of your life.

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Megan Vande Linde

Alumni Ambassador
1. What are your tips for learning the language while abroad?
If you’re studying another language while abroad, you have the unique opportunity to immerse yourself completely. Lean into that immersion. During my year in Spain, I changed my phone and Netflix settings to Spanish, listened only to Spanish music, watched TV (even game shows!) in Spanish with my host family, spoke almost exclusively with my new friends in Spanish, and attended weekly language exchange sessions. The more contact you can have with a language, the more natural it will begin to feel, so seek out every chance you have to practice! While I was with English speakers, I listened to the conversation and tried to find the phrases, words, or ideas that I would be unable to translate into Spanish. Once you identify your weak spots, you can begin to work on those areas specifically. When it comes to studying for your language classes, use the same techniques that work for you in your home university while studying your target language. In my case, that means lots of color coding, homemade study guides, and flashcards, but everyone has their own system!

2. What would you say to someone considering study abroad? 
My experience with CEA was incredible, not because everything went perfect all year (a perfect year is impossible even at my home university), but because the CEA staff was one of the most attentive and compassionate groups of people I’ve ever met. Whether they were patiently helping me choose my classes, suggesting activities around Granada, or planning and leading those incredible excursions on the weekends, Begoña, Jorge, and Antonio did an incredible job in making everyone feel wanted and welcome in Granada. On top of the amazing staff, the CEA excursions are enough reason in themselves to convince you to go with CEA. During my year abroad, I traveled to Ronda, Cordoba, Seville, Morocco (twice!), Madrid, Toledo, Nerja, Las Alpujarras, just to name a few, all of which is included in your program fee. CEA didn’t just send me to Spain and drop me there; they made sure I had a great time, stayed safe, improved my Spanish, and got to know Granada too.
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Melissa Greenberg

Alumni Ambassador
1. What would you say to someone considering study abroad?
I would say that the experience is worth having, not just to improve on language skills or have aesthetically pleasing pictures for social media, those are just a bonus, but to find out more about a culture and yourself. You learn how to live life completely on your own, and overcome challenges such as breaking language barriers or becoming more local as time goes on. You get to make friends and memories that will last a lifetime, and along with life lessons that you thought you would never have to learn. The program itself is inclusive and takes you on adventures all over the country while expanding your food palette, and also opening a door to numerous opportunities.

2. What are your best tips for learning the language while abroad?
Learning another language can be difficult at times, but the best way I encountered was conversing with locals as much as possible. While in France you are surrounded by French speakers, therefore the best way to learn is to step out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in the community. I spoke to everyone while I could, even the unconventional "Uber" drivers, because they love to teach the language and help you learn since they know it is not easy. Also studying phrases you've never heard before or listening to songs with more conversational French is the sort of thing that helped me expound on my language skills. My French professor also took us out to learn in a more interactive manner, such as meeting natives at a cafe or learning how to cook in French. Overall, attempting to use the language on a daily basis despite the mistakes that may be made is the most efficient way in my opinion, because over time you become more comfortable speaking and can pick up on different slang and accents.
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Miranda Schimek

Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you today?

Since I have gone through the culture shock and reverse culture shock twice now, because I did a Rotary Youth Exchange in high school and then studied abroad in college, I have become extremely adaptable. This is convenient in the workplace, I can adapt to different jobs and tasks quickly. Since I began traveling my senior year of high school I haven’t stopped. I have met people from around the world who have shown me the importance of travel. It has made me a very accepting and welcoming person. I have met people from all diverse backgrounds and religions and I find we can learn a lot from everyone we meet.

2. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

I would recommend focusing on conjugation before arriving to your host country because that is more universal. While learning vocab is nice to have, each country differs a lot; I had to learn a lot of new words just between living in Colombia and then Costa Rica. When I arrived to Colombia on an exchange in high school, I didn’t speak Spanish at all and my host family didn’t speak English. My host sister knew a little written English and wrote a list of the main verbs they used and the slang. When trying to learn a language it is best to immerse yourself into it completely. This means listening to Spanish music, TV, and making friends who you can practice it with (locals who are native speakers of that language are always the best because then you can learn the language and the culture with it). I also found having a host family was very important to me because they taught me most of the Spanish I learned on exchange and were super patient with me.

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Nakia Edmond

Alumni Ambassador

What was your favorite class abroad?

My favorite class was my intensive Chinese because we could not speak in English at all except for a few words we didn’t know. Speaking Chinese for 2 months straight expanded my vocabulary extensively and helped me learn more than I ever did in a classroom on at my home campus. It gave me the confidence and drive to continue practicing my foreign language even after my program had long ended.

How has your study abroad experience impacted your life, academics, and/or future career goals?  

My study abroad experience is more of a personal journey I share with others that helped me figure out what I was passionate about and what I was meant to do with my life. I came into college a criminal justice major with no real direction or passion for the major. However, after I returned from my study abroad program, I was determined to finish out my major and attend grad school for international studies with a concentration in East Asian Studies. I started my journey by interning for the education abroad office on my home campus my senior year and applied to grad schools with strong international backgrounds. Now I am a graduate student attending Texas State University, and I have CEA to thank for helping me find myself and my career path.

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Nam Nguyen

Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you today?

I firmly believe that studying abroad benefited me academically, professionally, and personally. Studying abroad broadened my knowledge and perspective in multiple ways. It has expanded my knowledge in my field of study and has helped me become the open-minded and flexible person that every employer is looking for. These experiences have helped me further develop my independence and be prepared to face whatever challenges come my way.

2. How has your study abroad experience impacted your life, academics, and/or future career goals?

Thanks to my study abroad experience, I can enter my professional career with a significant understanding of different cultures and people. After participating in many different study abroad programs, I am more aware of the cultural expectations and norms surrounding me. I have a proper understanding of what is expected of me and how to better “fit in” in the new environment. Finally, the sensitivity I have gained by studying abroad can help me succeed in many different cultures.

The insights I gained from living and studying abroad will assist me in future career opportunities. The instances in which I overcame cultural barriers and challenges will help me differentiate myself from other applicants quickly. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to marvel at the culture and history of many different countries up-close. By bridging the language barriers, I will have a chance to open plenty of doors to my future career. Whether I intend to work in a country where I studied or join an international company that maintains partnerships with those cultures, being able to speak their language and having knowledge of their culture will make me an attractive hire.

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Nicole Nordman

Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you today?

I realize that there are not enough words to adequately describe my time abroad. I feel like I have become an entirely different person, a more real and whole me. The opportunities I had while abroad are numerous and extensive, but each had a significant impact on the person I am today. Before going to Spain, I felt confused and unsure of most things in my life, but after coming back, I am sure that my potential is endless and anything is possible if I am sure of myself and my capabilities. The most important things I have learned are that language doesn’t have to be a barrier; family is more important than I ever realized; studies don’t have to be the center of your life as long as you’re doing what you love; and food is a very important part of every culture! I will never forget my time living with my incredible host family in a country so different from my own. I was able to share so many things with them from the simple conversations about activities I did in class to something as complex as my mental health. In high school, I gave a speech to the whole school about my experience with mental disorders and it was one of the hardest things I had to do. I thought I would never do something like that again, but after seeing how understanding a person can be even when there is a language barrier, I’ve found that I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Living in Granada with my host family truly was an ever-lasting experience that I will cherish forever.

2. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?

I would have to say that the best way to learn a language is to fully immerse yourself in it. Not everyone has this kind of opportunity, but if you are lucky to be able to, put in your best effort every day to speak to the natives. And, if you get the chance to live with a host family, talk to them about what you do every day. I also found it helpful to watch game shows with my family because they use a lot of every day vocabulary, and I could ask my host family about the words I didn’t know. The most helpful thing that I did before leaving for my host country was changing my phone to Spanish because it really forced me to learn vocabulary that’s prevalent today.

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Olivia Bracy

Alumni Ambassador
*You can ask me about my international internship too!
1. What would you say to others who are considering studying abroad? 
Studying abroad has an endless amount of benefits for students. From forcing people to step out of their comfort zone to becoming the best version of themselves, studying abroad does it all. Stepping out of one's typical day-to-day life and living in a foreign country calls for new learning experiences. Being exposed to new people, a different viewpoint on history, and unfamiliar places calls for eye opening experiences. Traveling to a new country and unfamiliar location alone is an excellent method to become more mature. Although your new roommates are there for you, you truly must depend on yourself in a foreign country. An additional area that most people grow in while being abroad is global competence. After visiting another country, you are able to better understand cultural differences. Everything from the way people in your host country dress, to the language they speak, to the food they eat, and their laws and actions, everything is a learning experience and an opportunity to grow as a person. While comparing America to your host country, two opposite situations arise. When you are living in another country, it is eye-opening to recognize that specific country's outlook on life along with their rules and regulations. Distinguishing the differences can do two things: teach a person how America can improve as a country and, on the contrary, display aspects to be grateful for. Nothing in this word can compare to the opportunity to study abroad. DO IT!
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Rachel Bornstein

Alumni Ambassador
1. What ways did you find to experience the local culture? 
One of my favorite activities in experiencing and living the local culture in Granada, Spain was the tapa experience! In Granada, you can get FREE food with a purchase of a drink (only 1-3 euros!) Tapas are a very Spanish thing to do, where you go out with your friends around 8-10pm for a “tapa” in place of a large dinner, and eat small appetizer-sized portions of food paired with a drink. I LOVED that the dining etiquette in Spain doesn’t include tips! I also loved going to some of the MANY cafés close by and scattered around the city on the weekends to have a Spanish breakfast— café and delicious toast or a pastry!

2. What are your tips for learning the language? 
Live with a host family! If you’re living in a region where English is not spoken proficiently, it's a big change because you may live with a family who knows little to no English—this is good! It will be easier to improve your skills if you are at least an intermediate-student in your target language, as you have the minimum amount of knowledge to practice using it everyday. If you are an absolute beginner, I won’t deny that it may be difficult for you at the start. For this, I recommend you really pay attention in your grammar classes and practice applying what you learned as much as you can with your host family and writing in a journal.
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Rachel Pasche

Alumni Ambassador
1. What would you say to others who are considering studying abroad? 
There is so much of the world to see, so many things to experience and learn, and studying abroad gives you an easy way to do those things. You meet new people, see new things, go places you've never even dreamed of visiting, and it all seems possible. You'll surprise yourself with how much you're capable of, and it'll amaze you to see what the rest of the world holds. Once you start traveling, once you get the bug, you'll never want to stop. It'll change the way you see the world, broadening your mind and horizons, and you'll be a better, more open, more independent person for it.

2. What was your favorite course while in Seville?
Spanish Culture and History because it was so informative. I learned how to discern quality from cheap olive oil, how to cook countless Spanish dishes, how the beer industry in Spain has evolved, and why certain foods were more popular than others. I learned why Ropa Vieja is named such, and why it came to be a popular dish. I became so knowledgeable about culture, food, history, I felt it was the final step of my immersion into the Spanish culture. Beyond that, every two weeks we went to a kitchen and learned to cook traditional Spanish cuisine, including desserts.
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Robby Gragnola

Alumni Insider
1. What was your favorite course abroad? 
My favorite class was Architecture and Painting in Barcelona because of the opportunity to explore the rich culture that art in Barcelona had to offer. I was on the fence about taking this class because I never cared about art previously, but this class changed my attitude about the subject. My perception of the class was that we were going to simply talk about paintings and sculptures and what they meant to the artist, but it turned out to be so much more intriguing than that. After learning about an artist like Gaudi or Picasso, we would actually go see their masterpieces in person at their museums that were located in the heart of the city. The combination of seeing their works up close and the information I learned in class helped educate me on the meaning behind their creations and what makes them so special. It was fascinating to discover how much the environment they lived in at the time influenced what they created. This class gave me a new appreciation for art and the lessons that it can teach me.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 
Being the youngest of four children, I have always relied on my family to guide me through different stages of my life. But for the first time in my life, I wanted to escape my comfort zone and become more independent, and that is exactly what CEA helped me do. Throughout the past five months in Europe, I have been to nine different countries, all having their own unique cultures and customs, and each one teaching me something new about myself. The one experience that attributed the most to my personal growth was my trip to Paris. This was the first time I was traveling alone, but I was eager to explore this city and put myself outside of my comfort zone. This city has some of the most famous national monuments in the world, all which combine different aspects of French history to create a very diverse culture. My first stop was to the Notre Dame Cathedral where I experienced the iconic French Gothic architecture. After studying architecture over the past several months I was able to point out certain styles and techniques that made the cathedral so extraordinary. Next was the Louvre, where I met a man named John who spoke fluent English and French, who ended up guiding me through the historic museum. If I was by myself I would have just seen piece of art and not even have thought about the significance that each one had on society global scale. But I was lucky enough to meet John who was able to describe the cultural implications of each famous work of art in far more detail than any typical tour guide ever could. That day showed me that I can get out of my comfort zone and be rewarded with some of the most enriching moments of my life. I not only became more culturally aware, but I also discovered new traits of self-confidence and extroversion that would not have happened had I not had this experience. And in fact, I almost did not go on this trip because of the fear of being alone, but it turned out to be my favorite destination.
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Sam Vodanovich

Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you experienced the local culture? 
While I was in Rome it was a goal of mine to make sure my friends and I saw or tried something new everyday. We did a lot of walking and a lot of eating, but in Rome that is the most practical way to immerse yourself in the culture. We were consistently trying new restaurants, visiting new museums, or even just going for nightly strolls along the river.

2. What was your favorite course abroad? 
The Culture of Food and Wine was my favorite course because every class was different. We would try new local foods every week and sometimes we would get to cook with our teacher at her home kitchen. It was one of the most unique experiences of studying abroad.
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Sarah Franco

Alumni Ambassador
*Ask me about my internship!
1. What were ways you found to explore the local culture?

I loved Florence, Italy. It was a very lively city filled with many things to do and see. I took full advantage of my summer abroad. I enjoyed the easy going nature of the Italian culture, especially the food and lifestyle there. I interned at a cooking school and it had international customers with whom I was able to interact with and share travel experience with. Florence was very international which helped when making new friends. The food and wine class I took helped me learn about the culture even more than I would have one my own.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you? 
I now know exactly what I want to do, now that I have been abroad. It helped me refocus my goals, and since I didn't know anyone one going into the program, it helped me learn how to do things on my own and made me more eager to leave my comfort zone, meet others, and branch out.

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Sarah Shearer

Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you today?

When you spend a long time building something up, it can be hard to tear down. This is true for perceptions, identities, and physical places, too. Having lived in the same house in the same city for eighteen years, I only knew one home. A singular point on the map. And while going to college had begun to shift that perspective in me, studying abroad is what really shook things up and threw out the “one home” absolute in my head once and for all. The first time I opened the door to my home stay in January, it felt like someone else’s house (it was), and I didn’t know how to picture myself coming back there day after day. But, somehow, I did. I made it a home for myself. Not only there, but I began to live in a state of constant “at home-ness” at the end of the day, no matter where I ended up: whether it was in bed at my home stay, in an Airbnb in Malta, sharing a room with strangers at a hostel in Munich, trying to get comfortable on a bus going through the Alps, or stretched out across a row of chairs in the Amsterdam airport. It wasn’t always easy or comfortable, but that’s a big part of how going abroad changed me (and most people, I’m willing to bet): you learn to accept it. Whatever “it” is. When you’re not in the place where you grew up, and people have different ways of life in different corners of the world, you have two choices: turn around, or buckle up and go forward. These were four months of going forward for me, and now I can never go back.

2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say? 

Imagine opening your eyes one morning and staring out at a place you’ve only seen before in pictures pasted to your ceiling and on cell phone commercials. But instead of just a vacation, you’re there to experience society in its purest form: Make friends from all over the world, buy broccoli at the market, go to school, develop personal cheese preferences, wave “hello” to locals, and become a regular at a café. These are the realities of studying abroad, and they are there and waiting for you to experience in any way that you will. Maybe the hardest part is making up your mind to go and then making the arrangements. I know that’s the case for some. Make the decisions anyway. Pull up a word document on your computer and get a hit list together. Pick up the phone and call your university’s study abroad department and ask for help. I hope you do it. You can make all the plans you want for the future, and it’s quite possible they’ll come true. It’s also possible they won’t and you’ll find yourself making it up as you go. The great thing about college is that it is NOW. These years are alive and they are yours in your hands. If international education and travel are on your “bucket list,” pull them into your reality and make it happen before life starts to shift around after college and gets formed and reformed by careers and families. Only you know what you really want, and if you let it pass you by, no one will be there to cry over lost opportunities with you. That will be your pill to swallow. So, if “traveling someday” is what you want, maybe think about changing it to “traveling next year.”

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Sarah Woods-Killam

Alumni Ambassador
1. What ways did you find to experience the local culture?

Being in Argentina was an amazing, unforgettable experience. I feel that I was able to immerse myself in the culture by constantly speaking Spanish with anyone I could outside of my classes (taxi drivers, people on the bus, shop keepers, etc.). Additionally, I went to as many Tango classes and Milongas (social dancing) as I could, which helped me improve as a dancer as well as learn about the history and beauty of Tango. I engorged myself on carne asado, empanadas and dulce de leche which are common foods in Buenos Aires. I chose to stay with a host and I know that I will always be in contact with her because she's wonderful. I walked around as many neighborhoods in Buenos Aires as I could to learn about the beautiful city.

2. What do you wish you had known before going? 
I wish I had known how big of a city Buenos Aires was. I didn't have any particular notions about how I was going to get around considering I wanted to save as much money as possible, but the city has great public transport. It just means that I had to be careful about including travel time whenever I needed to get somewhere. I also wish I had brought a raincoat for myself because I didn't realize how rainy it could be during the 'winter' there (which is in June/July/August). 


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Shelby Epstein

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite class was my Tapas cooking class at Universidad Pablo de Olavide. I loved this class so much because I not only got the chance to cook amazing food, but also meet more people outside of CEA too. Each class we learned about the tapas of the week and then got the chance to cook and eat them. It was fun and educational because the class was taught in Spanish and now I am going home with so many yummy Spanish recipes to cook for my friends and family.

2. How has this study abroad experience shaped you? 
Prior to going abroad, I had this idea that I was cultured and worldly because I have lived in a couple states and traveled a little bit in the past. When I got here and met people who have already lived in Africa, India and South Korea, I realized quite fast how inexperienced I actually was. Having this knowledge now has taught me to look deeper than first glance at people and how different everyone's story is. Everyone in my program has had a different past and comes from so many different places to be able to learn from and travel with them has shaped my view of the world and myself tremendously.
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Shelly Ng

Alumni Ambassador
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
My Czech language class, cinema class, and communications class encouraged me to think about Czech history, visit the different Prague neighborhoods, and try all the delicious foods. I spent my weekends going to cafés usually hidden in courtyards, eating chlebíčky (an open sandwich) and guláš, and practicing my Czech speaking skills with vendors at the farmers’ market. I took notice of proper etiquette on trams; it is important to give a seat to older people and if you are standing by the door, you are expected to exit the tram and step to the side to let others out. I went on a self-guided tour of street art in the city, which inspired me to write my Global Studies Minor Capstone about art as a form of expression. I also attended big events such as čarodějnice (night with huge bonfires) and the Prague Open. I witnessed how the locals cheered and clapped for the players. I noticed that the claps for encouragement were different from the claps for a winning shot. I followed what I observed as I watched multiple matches.

2. What are your tips for learning a language abroad?
I studied Elementary Czech while abroad and found it very helpful to review what I learned after every class. I had a second notebook for me to sort vocabulary I learned into thematic lists. It is important to take note of common trends in the language, such as how, in Czech, masculine nouns usually end in consonants, feminine nouns usually end in ‘a’ or ‘e’, and any noun that ends in ‘o’ is neutral. Listening to public transportation announcements and reading advertisements is a great way to practice pronunciation. Force yourself to speak the language as often as possible. I found it easiest to do this at restaurants and markets, where you would understand the context of what is being said. If there are times you hear phrases or have an unexpected interaction, try to jot down what was said to the best of your ability and ask your language teacher next class to understand why and how those phrases were used. Associating words with a situation may help a great deal when you are trying to improve your language skills.
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Sophia Spooner

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad? 
I absolutely loved Fashion Marketing and Merchandising. Every other week we went on a field trip to such interesting places. I got to experience the Gucci Gardens, Stefano Ricci, and even an expo convention on fabrics! By stepping out of the classroom, I felt that I absorbed more information than just being taught by a PowerPoint.

2.  What would you say to a student considering study abroad with CEA? 
CEA is there for you. Through applying to be in the program, obtaining your visa, being in a foreign country and even when you return home. They organize documents that you need to have to be abroad in great detail, plan trips for you and your classmates to explore the country and have well-rounded and experienced professors to help you make the most of your four months. In addition, the employees want to know you and make sure that you are enjoying your time abroad. Because they really do care about everyone having an unforgettable semester.
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Steve Maravillo

Alumni Insider

1. What was the best part about studying abroad?

My experience abroad indefinitely widened my cultural and interpersonal state of mind. It also helped me gain a greater understanding of the beauty and dynamic of international travel and diversity. My favorite part about studying abroad was the connections and friendships I made with individuals while abroad. Although I learned plenty of useful information in the classroom, a lot of my learning took place within my interpersonal and intercultural relations with students, civilians and workers that were Paris natives. My top travel tips are to immerse yourself into the culture of the city and country of your study abroad experience. In my experiences, the best way to accomplish a successful intercultural immersion is by meeting individuals native to the country, with a strong familiarity of the culture and society of the given country that will ultimately educate you in a form greater than a classroom setting. Although I wasn’t quite fluent in French, it was very easy to make friends with local Parisians, and was immensely rewarding in the learning experience and expansion of interpersonal connections.

 

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?

After my study abroad experience, I shifted my career goals and interests to better suit a more international and global vision of work. My career goal is to go into Epidemiology, but I am strongly interested in potentially establishing my career outside of the United States because of how impactful my study abroad experience was. During my abroad experience, I found immediate comfort in the concept of living and learning abroad, to a point where I am now yearning to return to that lifestyle and am very interested in potentially living outside of the United States for a much longer time span after my education. After returning to my home university, UC San Diego, I was hired to work as a Student Assistant for the Study Abroad Office on my campus, and have since spoke on behalf of my experiences abroad and the key components of the importance and impact of international education and travel on students like myself. Additionally, my experiences abroad encouraged me to become involved in the international student population at my university, in surrounding myself by students from every continent as well as in sharing my own experiences abroad as an American student. Another impact of my experiences abroad took place in my fundamental understanding of friendship and companionship. Before studying in Paris, I had very poor communication and relationship skills and found it difficult to speak to people and make friends. I was fortunate enough to make numerous friends during my abroad experience, which beautified my experiences abroad in a tremendous way. The experience was life-changing, and I will always be grateful for the opportunities I had in being able to study abroad.

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Summer Atwood

Alumni Insider
1. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
There are so many ways to immerse oneself in the culture of the host country, but I found that my favorite strategy (at least in Florence, Italy and Aix en Provence, France, where I studied), was simply to go and sit at a petit café, sip on a cappuccino or café au lait, watch the world pass by around me, and strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to me. This provides an opportunity to casually observe the life around you – for example, noticing that buoyant and boisterous conversation is conventional in Italy or that picking up after one’s dog is not customary in France – and then see how you might fit into it. It also offers a chance to interact with the locals. On one sunny afternoon in Aix en Provence, I was sitting at my favorite café – Brasserie de la Mairie – and working on my homework. The elderly woman sitting next to me saw what I was doing and started speaking to me in French. We had a nice conversation about la vie francaise and it was the perfect opportunity to practice my French. It was in that moment that I felt like a true local.

2. What was your favorite course abroad?
While I was in Aix en Provence I took a creative writing class that was not only my favorite course I took while abroad, but very likely the best course I have ever taken. Part of the reason for this was that I simply discovered something I was truly passionate about. Now I want to pursue a writing career. But this class also served as the perfect opportunity to truly observe the life around me and reflect on my study abroad experience as a whole. During many class periods, our assignment for the day was simply to go to a park or a café and write about the world around us. I swear I saw things I had never seen before, noticed quirks of which I was previously unaware. The course encouraged me to truly recognize and understand my surroundings. It was through creative writing that I learned not only how to creatively convey stories, but I also learned that les Aixois do not order café au laits in the afternoon, that the sun perfectly strikes the bell tower at 16:35, and that riding a razor scooter to work is commonplace. The class changed how I view the world.
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Talia Stewart

Alumni Insider
1. What would you say to someone considering study abroad?
Studying abroad with CEA was the best decision that I’ve made of my college career. When I began the process of looking into abroad programs, I inquired with a couple different providers. CEA was the only company who actually got back to me on a timely manner, set me up with my own personal contact in their U.S. office, and was more than willing to answer any questions that I had pertaining to the application process and the actual time spent abroad. Once I applied and was accepted to CEA, I continued to be impressed with the level of communication that the program specialists maintained with me. I was a bit nervous before I left for my trip, but the CEA team calmed all my worries and worked with me to make sure that I knew exactly what to expect during my time abroad. In addition to great communication, CEA also boasts fun and meaningful excursions most weeks. In Prague, CEA took students to the zoo, a concentration camp, a quaint Czech village, and many more sites. These were all included in the price of the program, which made it a great option if you were looking for something to do on a free day. Lastly, CEA had a great office located in a centralized area of town where friendly staff members were always there to greet you, as well as help you with any concerns you may be having while abroad.

2. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course abroad was either my Czech language course, or my Contemporary Art class. My contemporary art class consisted of weekly field trips to various Prague art galleries. This course was fascinating in my eyes because it helped me get out and about in areas of Prague that I otherwise may not have visited on my own. The art scene in Prague is unlike any other city’s, and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting various venues and seeing the artists that they hosted. In addition to viewing art galleries, my professor would always give us a walking tour on the way to the gallery. This was always one of my favorite parts of the class because he would point out landmarks and give us information about special sites along our walk that are less known to tourists.
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Tasia Tsiplakos

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad?

My favorite class had to be Cross-Cultural Management because it taught me that there are many cultural differences when managing or working with people in business. The class helped me be aware of cultural tendencies so that I know how to communicate effectively to get through to employees with different backgrounds because it affects how they work. It even helped me understand some cultural aspects of how people behave right in Barcelona; I was noticing things I learned in class while interacting and living in Barcelona.

2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
My experience has shaped me today by broadening my understanding of people from different cultures and how to properly interact with them. I have gained such independence through living in a new place and traveling to 10 countries during my semester abroad, that now I am not fearful of new things. I have a positive outlook on life because I am so thankful to have these experiences that taught me to open up to others and put myself in uncomfortable situations to learn more about people, culture, and the places I went. Studying abroad has given me a thirst for life in which I am always able and willing to handle any situation. I can't wait for my next travelling experience!

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Theresa Burke

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite class had to be "Immigration, Race, and Identity", because of the knowledge gained that I was originally so ignorant to. This class focused on the European refugee crisis happening presently. Coming from the U.S. I was not highly aware of what was going on, on the other side of the world. I was aware of the Syrian war and Syrians being displaced across Europe and even some to the U.S. I learned that this crisis was much more than just the Syrian war, but that so many other individuals were fleeing war, persecution, and torment from countries I had never heard of. We read the book 'The New Odyssey', this book gave real people and their tragic stories a voice in this crisis and made me realize how much of a humanitarian issue this is. In this class we discussed law reform options in the EU.  
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Tyler Stieren

Alumni Ambassador
1. What was your favorite class while abroad?
My favorite course I took abroad was my Intermediate Spanish course. I really enjoyed the course because it didn’t really feel like a class – it was more of a conversation. Every day, we’d come into class and our professor, Jose, would just talk with us. He’d ask us about our weekends, where we went, what we did, etc. All of this was in Spanish, by the way. He really cared about the experiences we were having and made sure to ask about it every day. We talked bout current and past problems of Seville, and Spain in general. He taught us the history, he showed and told us things we never would have known prior had it not been for us talking through it. He really wanted us to have as pure of an experience as possible, so telling us about the history and culture of Spain really gave me a great appreciation for that course and what Spain had to offer.

2. What would you say to someone considering study abroad?
This program is so good, it's evident that the staff truly cares about and supports you and what you do. I’d tell them about how I felt safe being a part of this program, and I always felt included, like an important part of the greater experience. CEA really makes all the difference, providing you with outlets such as Intercambios, learning sessions, excursions, etc. for you to be able to express yourself and meet people you’d never otherwise have the chance to.I loved the courses that were offered, they were very beneficial to everything we did. The courses were very interactive, and often times we had projects or class excursions that had us get involved in the city, which was great because you felt at some points like you were making a difference and it was truly amazing. The last thing I would tell them is that the community is amazing. The community that CEA provides you with is stellar – they promote new friends, going out of your comfort zone, and experiencing everything possible, and I really thought that was something special.
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William Manson

Alumni Ambassador

1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you today?

My study abroad experience has shaped me in many ways. I learned a lot about who I am during the fifty total days I was abroad. I had never been away for home or from the United States that long during my entire life. It was like an incredible coming of age ceremony. I am twenty, nearly an adult by societal standards, but so far away from truly being one. The experiences I had during my summer in 2017 have left an incredible mark on who I am as a man and how I want to continue to attain that mark in the future. It stoked the embers of a burning desire to travel. I saw seven countries and fourteen cities. I saw people, places, and cultures that 99 percent of my age group has never seen before and maybe never will. But, as I sit here and reflect on the memories and all I saw and did, I cannot help to think....what else is out there? I want to travel more because of this experience. I want to go to Eastern Europe, not just Western Europe where I studied in Barcelona. I do not just want to see Europe, I want to see every continent. I want to see the world. There is so much to see and so much to learn. I want to work hard and achieve success in life so I have the ability to travel.

I also just learned so much that I become a much better-rounded person. I learned to cook while in Europe. I had never really cooked before and I almost had to learn or I wouldn't eat! But I took that skill back with me as some tangible evidence of my growth as a person. Studying abroad really did help shape who I am sitting here today, writing this. I am forever grateful for it.

2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say?

I would say I made the choice to study abroad too. I had the debates in my head. Should I do this? I am scared, it may be expensive… whatever fear you had - I had it as well. Despite those concerns, I am sitting here right now imploring you to do this. It is the most incredible experience you will ever have in your life. You will learn so much about who you are, you will gain so many lifelong memories, and you will meet so many amazing people. This is not some study abroad person telling you to do it. I am a student. I am your peer. I am telling you right now that this experience is unparalleled. You have an opportunity to make a lasting impact on your own life! Trust me, if you do it you will not regret it. The only thing you will regret is not taking a chance and studying abroad when you had it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Take it.

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Yvette Hodgen

Alumni Ambassador
*Ask me about my summer internship!
1. What was your favorite course?
My favorite course abroad was the Wine Culture class that was offered at CEA. Since this is the area of work I am aiming to be in, it was a great opportunity for me to learn in a comfortable environment. The professor was so knowledgeable even past the main elements of his industry. If you are an interactive learner this is also a great course to take because we took many interesting trips to wine shops in Paris, as well as to his businesses, the Caves du Louvre and O'Chateau.

2. How has your experience abroad shaped you? 
My study abroad experience helped me answer a lot of questions that I had before and reshape some ideas for what I thought to do and where I wanted to be in life. My internship placement was spot on and gave me amazing opportunities. Living in another country that is more laid-back gave me a chance to step back and evaluate my stress level towards the small things and consider what is most important to me. It also broadened my horizons for what to do after I graduate. I plan to go back to France for my masters and experience even more than before. Before CEA, I was unsure of my exact career path. After my internship in international wines and the wine course in the spring, I now have a clear idea and am comforted by knowing I can now make solid plans.
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Zainab Bhojani

Alumni Ambassador

1. What ways did you find to become immersed in the local culture?
First off, I chose to live with a host family. When you're studying abroad that is the best decision to make in terms of your living situation. I had constant language interaction with my host family and I saw an immediate improvement in my speaking abilities. The host family also helped point out where to go in the city and what to do. The moments and deep conversations you have with your host family are like no other. In a country where you do not know anyone else, they really do become just like your family. You learn and experience what it really feels like to be directly involved in the family culture of wherever you go. 

During my time abroad, I also met with other students at the university and CEA center and planned to go do cultural activities together like mate club, mundo lingo, and tango dancing lessons. During all these activities I also met with and talked to other Argentines and we would talk in Spanish and English back and forth. It was like giving them a piece of who you are and they give you theirs. 

I also went on a trip to Iguazú Waterfalls. There were about 50 other international students on the trip. These students were from all over the world. From Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, France, Mexico, Switzerland, and the states. Spending a weekend with all these people, you bond with them and make life-long friendships. You learn about who they are, where they come from, and what's important to them. I even saw the major and minor differences between different Latin American cultures. 

CEA also organized a multitude of cultural excursions to tango dinner shows, other small towns, and activities to show us around the city. I went to each and every single one and saw the different districts and how each one is so different but still perfectly tied together to make Buenos Aires the amazing city it is.

2. What would you tell other students considering CEA and studying abroad?
CEA was by far one of the best programs for study abroad there is. I talked to students from all kinds of difference programs and they did not like their programs as much. They felt lost among huge groups of students and weren't given quality attention. CEA makes sure each student gets what they want from their study abroad experience and have the best options and programs and you can find everything you're looking for. CEA was a super engaging program which immersed the students in the culture so they could have the highest quality experience when going abroad. Everything at CEA was extremely organized and they took care of me pre/during/and post departure all the way through!
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Zenab Bakayoko

Alumni Ambassador
1. What do you wish you had known before going? 
Before studying abroad I wish someone would've explained to me the concept of "culture shock" more. I've heard the term before but I didn't understand the concept in-depth and didn't fully understand how real it was. After the first few days of being abroad, I remember feeling like an outsider and believing that I would never fully become a part of this culture because I am American and that's all I know. It was not until we talked about the concept in one of my courses that I started to realize that's what I was going through. Once  understood this, I realized that I was not trying to emerge out of insecurities of being judged and rejected. When I started to embrace my ignorance, and move on from a fear of being judged or rejected, I was able to really emerge from my shell.

2. How was your experience different than others?
I believe that any student who studies abroad learns a ton (both in and out of the classroom). However, I believe that my experience was remarkably different than most. I was raised by two French-speaking African immigrants. I thought that because of this, my experience abroad would be easier. This was a false belief, and adjusting was still hard. My experience was also very different because I was the only African American student in my program. I learned a lot of information and lessons that I feel like would greatly help low-income students interested in studying abroad. Reach out to me!
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