Jacob studied in France on the CIC-SPA: Montpellier, Integrated Program during the Spring of 2015.
If you could give only one reason, why would you suggest other students study abroad?
There is no better way to learn global cultures than to immerse yourself in it. Furthermore, it opens the door to extensive travel and discovery opportunities.
What concerns/fears did you have about studying abroad and how did you overcome them?
I was mostly worried that my French wouldn’t be adequate to get by. It was functional, so don’t worry about that. And it gets much better very quickly.
What was it about your program specifically that fit your personal goals over other programs?
I wanted to be immersed in the French culture and language, and there is no better place to do that than Montpellier.
I traveled a lot to other cities in the south of France. This was actually one of my favorite things about Montpellier, it is a day trip from so many awesome towns. It really helped me understand the interesting and unique features of each region and town.
How have you used the skills you learned abroad now that you are back; either in job searching, or in other activities?
I am also a Finance major, so French can be useful when talking to international clients, but that is pretty rare. Mostly French is an interesting factor that makes me a better candidate for jobs. I am also staying with a French family this summer, which has made communication much easier.
What did you learn, or what experiences did you have while studying abroad that you feel you could not have learned/experienced if you had stayed at Penn State?
I took a course on the French wine culture and economy, probably not something you can take anywhere in the states. I also learned a lot about French and European culture, which I certainly wouldn’t have learned about in the US.
What advice would you give to outbound study abroad students to help them make the most of their study abroad experiences?
If you are going to a non-English speaking country, don’t worry about your proficiency. The University wouldn’t let you go if you couldn’t handle it. And you will get exponentially better within a few weeks.