Bonjour! I will be studying in Nice, France during the Fall 2014 semester. Before I came to the College of Staten Island, I knew that my ultimate dream was to travel the world. Like most college students, choosing a major was very difficult for me. I knew that I wanted to incorporate my dream of traveling with my area of study. Keeping traveling in mind, I chose to major in business with an international concentration and to minor in French. During my freshman year, a representative from the Center for International Service at the College of Staten Island gave us information about some study abroad programs that were offered. I knew right away that before I graduated I wanted to study abroad. Although I was anxious to study abroad, I decided to wait until my junior year of college so I would be able to have more knowledge of the French language. I also found out that I could potentially receive a scholarship from The Verrazano School that would help with the cost of studying abroad.
I went to the Center for International Service and gathered some more information about studying abroad. I knew that I definitely wanted to study in France because I have taken French classes for seven years and have always loved French culture. The representative from the Center helped me select a program that would fit my field of study and fit my budget. After a lot of thinking I decided to apply for the CSI Ambassador Exchange Program at IPAG Business School in both Paris and Nice. This program was perfect for me because it was being offered to only students who are business majors. The students who are accepted pay the College of Staten Island tuition, which is very affordable, along with room and board. Shortly after applying to the program, I received not only an acceptance letter for the program, but also one from the Verrazano School informing me that I had received a scholarship.
I decided to study at the IPAG Business School campus in Nice since I have already been to Paris. Nice is a beautiful city in the Côte d’Azur region located in the South of France. It is the second most popular city to visit in France right after Paris. The university I will be studying at is only a fifteen-minute walk from the Mediterranean Sea. I will be living in an off campus apartment with another student from the College of Staten Island, and the apartment is located very close to the school. Nice is also situated between Italy and Spain, which are very easy to travel to. IPAG stands for Institut de Préparation à l’Adminstration Générale - that translates into the Institute for General Administration Preparation. The University is French but most of the student body is made up of Erasmus or exchange students. My classes will be taught in English, but I will be taking a French class in a level that is not offered at CSI. I will be taking business courses as well, which will give me insight on the economy from another country’s perspective. I know that university professors in Europe have a very different style of teaching, so I am anxious about being in a different learning environment. Although I am nervous, this will be a good experience to prepare me for my future career in international business.
During these final weeks before I leave for France, I am both excited and nervous. I am excited because this is an opportunity that I have dreamt of for years and it is finally becoming reality. I am also nervous because I have never been away from my family and friends for so long. I have also been preparing for my stay by applying for my student visa, looking for a place to stay, and searching for a flight to book. Through my study abroad experience, I hope to become more proficient in the French language, understand the culture of France and of other countries, learn more about the global economy, and make lasting memories!