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IES: Paris, French Studies Program
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Aniyah Nelson

Major: Criminology
Minor: French Studies and Language
Hometown: New York

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this enrichment experience through doing research on my own as well as going to education abroad fairs held by Penn State. To help me with my decision making, I asked numerous questions as to why I should go to this country, what are the benefits of studying abroad, what the different culture shocks of coming here would be like, and others like these. At Penn State there are always people to help you, from peer advisers to counselors who have experienced being in particular countries as well.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I am going on my third month in Paris, and I love it. Yes, there any many cultures shocks like groceries and clothing stores being closing on Sundays, the smell of fresh bread being baked at every boulangerie you pass but it’s all about embracing a new culture that is not your own. Studying abroad has allowed me to meet new people from different universities all over the United States as well as people from all over the world. I live with a host family, and it was the best decision of my life. I have learned more about France than I did in geography classes, from things like the Do’s or Don’ts, the reasons for each manifestations, the Parisian lifestyle, as well as improving my French. In my program at IES, I had the opportunity to take advantage making lifetime friends I have traveled across Europe with to enhance my knowledge about different cultures and see the world.

"It’s all about embracing a new culture that is not your own."

How did this experience impact you academically?

At IES, not only have I learned about the Parisian lifestyle, but also have had a very good academic experience. While studying abroad I am taking four courses, all in French. It sometimes gets difficult to manage them all but there are always people there to help me. All of my classes are about France, ranging from history and legends, immigration and diversity to poetics and politics of gender and French grammar. Learning about culture is one of the ways I compare and contrast the United States to France, and and think about ways to make the United States a better country. Learning about France allows me to have a better understanding as to why the country itself developed to be the way it is.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

When it comes to my career path, I am still evaluating and considering all of my options, but having this experience on my resume is just another step towards greatness. Employers will see I have taken the challenge to study abroad, and recognize the advantage I am to their organization over others that haven't taken the same challenge. However, my dream goal is to work in a francophone country, and therefore utilizing and practicing French is definitely valuable to me.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Without any doubt, I would recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. This is an experience you will not be able to get in the United States. Not only do you learn more about different cultures but the amount of people you network with increases as well, which is a huge asset for the future.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website
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