France Study Abroad Reflection
willgarcia23, July 1st, 2019
By the time I preparing to leave Strasbourg, my outlook on France and on Europe had completely changed from my initial expectations five weeks prior. Strasbourg was a quaint and picturesque town that was full with life during the day but still at night; an easy place to put down our roots in and the perfect city to call home while studying abroad. Europe, more generally, was an incredible mix of cultures and history unlike anything you could find in America. It was stunning to see how a short three-hour train ride from one town could have you in a completely different country with another foreign atmosphere dictated by the language, food, architecture and disposition of the people there. One of the most noticeable differences, however, was the physical closeness of everything compared to with what I am accustomed to. Without so many cars and the luxury of space that we have in America, daily routines in Europe will have you come in contact and interact with many more people than usual, giving you a chance to actually feel like a local. The pace of things also seemed to slow down a bit and, while it may have felt weird to begin with, that change definitely gave me the opportunity to admire parts of cities and cultures that otherwise I may not have fully appreciated.
This trip was extremely fun, as meant to be, but was definitely still challenging enough with school during the week to balance the right mix of work and play. The two classes taught by Professor Coyez and Dr. Gaspar were tough but also very insightful, and learning about the European Union/ways of business while abroad was an incredible experience. Perhaps the best learning experiences, however, came outside of the classroom. Seeing first hand how business is conducted differently and how the relationship between seller and consumer varies from that in the U.S. was very interesting, and is something that could definitely not be fully captured in a classroom setting. Our weekend trips across Europe were also just as educational as fun because I was able to see the direct impact of various cultures on lifestyles and ways of business. I will never forget the conversations had with different Europeans on long train rides, and the diversity of the people we met along the way. Their extensive knowledge of the United States and different views on certain topics helped me to realize how secluded I have been living and gave me perspective on just how big and complex the world market really is. I learned way more about finance, the European Union and just life in general than I thought I would have in five weeks, but maybe my biggest takeaway from this trip is realizing how much I actually don’t know. This study abroad provided me with a glimpse into a whole other world and gave me the opportunity to step out of my own bubble and look at things from a completely different standpoint. The value that this experience has added to my outlook on my career and the international market cannot be understated, and the memories made will never be forgotten. This journey was truly the experience of a lifetime and the new perspective that I come back home with will contribute to my understanding of the world for the rest of my life.
Categories: 2019 Trip