Reciprocal Exchanges Blog - Part 2

This is Ngoc Huynh, Class of ’23, and a Management-HRM Major with a Minor in Psychology. I am writing this about 98% through my Exchange in Copenhagen, Denmark (DK). I am officially done with exams, sightseeing, and Semester Exchange Journey! I originally pursued this opportunity to obtain an International Business Certificate and improve my resumé. In addition to that, I had a large interest in working abroad and expatriates. However, I got a lot more than that—as cheesy as this is, but I understand why people say going abroad is life-changing.

(Amager Strandpark; the water is very clear. This is technically still a part of Copenhagen, but it is a good breather from the city life.)

Going to Copenhagen made me become more mindful. I knew that Danes had a strong belief in giving equal opportunities and being open-minded while keeping to themselves. It is common for them to do their own things. When you are out, it is just you. Do not expect people to help/assist unless you are vocal and ask. There are no assumptions. Seeing it in real life was a totally different story, and I was shocked. Even so, I did not realize how vocal/active they can be about fighting for people’s rights. When the Abortion Crisis occurred in the US, Danes were protesting in front of the US Embassy—fighting for the rights of women. What they were doing would not affect what happens in the US. They cannot vote and did not put it on social media, but they still did it to show their solidarity to the cause. There is graffiti all over Copenhagen referencing #BlackLivesMatter, what is going on in Ukraine, legalization of marijuana, etc. These things do not directly affect them, but they are still creating awareness and helping these voices be heard. These people are not internet social justice warriors—they are in the trenches, and I wish the US was like that as well. I love that they are willing to pay high taxes to give people in their country free education, free healthcare, and basically an opportunity to have a better life.

(A poster about a Global Marijuana March in Christiania. Marijuana is not legalized in Denmark, however, in Christiania—“no man’s land,” the laws of the land become murky, however, this is where recreational marijuana occurs. Police are stationed there, but its usage is overlooked! Long story short, it is complicated.)

A course that helped me assimilate into the Danish culture, stimulate my brain, and recognize mindfulness was Negotiations. My professor was a whole show. He taught workshops, wrote multiple books, and was an International Business negotiator himself. He was well-versed in everyone’s cultural background—he explained nuances, folklore, stereotypes, etc., and was a great facilitator. The class was his stage, and the students were the audience. Most of us were International Exchange students, but there were some Danish students as well. As a result, whenever did our Negotiation Exercises, we all had to remember the cultural differences we had and adjust to them. It was interesting to see Hofstede’s 6 Dimensions of Culture in real life. To have a successful negotiation and come out with a deal, you must think and be mindful. As a Human Resources major with a Psychology minor, I loved the class. It appealed to all of my senses. Also, the last negotiation we did, in his words—was “so Danish.” By then, 4 months had passed, and everyone was a different cultural animal. I thought that showed how effective he was in teaching us. Sadly, this was the professor’s last semester before retiring, but he was truly one of the best I was under. Typically, I shop for all of my professors at TAMU. If I am paying tuition, then I want to learn under professors who would benefit me intellectually. I typically end up with professors who I enjoy even if they are tough and do not obtain an A; it is about the intrinsic benefit. I was not able to do that this time due to the Course Selection Process—which honestly could be improved (10/10 prefer Howdy, even though I keep getting assigned to the 4AM timeslots), so getting assigned to this man was luck of the draw.

Overall, my assumptions were correct about Copenhagen. I did A LOT of research beforehand, and it came in handy. There was an assumption that everyone wore black, and they did. There was another assumption of them keeping to themselves and having dark humor, and they did as well. But, most importantly, there was an assumption of them being progressive, and they were. This is hard to live up to, but they succeeded in my opinion. They were one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage, advocate for gender equality (before it was cool, and this is reflected in work and romantic life), free education, free healthcare, etc. As someone who was required to obtain a Residence Permit, I was essentially given the same rights as a Danish Citizen. I had access to these. Luckily, I did not have to use them, but it would have been beneficial. There are people in the US that cannot afford healthcare, and it is sad. When I see what is going on in Copenhagen, I cannot help but be wishful for the US to reach that level one day.

Before I came to Copenhagen, I was burnt out. There was a lot going on, and I felt like I could not remove myself from the situation. I was academically successful, my private was relatively good, and this was the healthiest I have been in the longest. Even so, I could not help but feel dissatisfied and like a failure. Everyone around me was getting married or pregnant. They were getting jobs and moving on with their lives. I could not relate. However, thanks to this experience, my professors, my roommate, the people I met there, I feel like I have my groove back. My exchange gave me the privilege to take myself out of where I was and be put in a different setting. There were obviously ups and downs during this Exchange, but that is life. This made me realize that I would like to go abroad again one day—for work, pleasure, or to live wherever. You are where you are, but it is how you adapt and prevail!

(A very large sculpture located in Christiania! It is nice to look at and a great message; the world is in our hands, and it is, however, you would like to interpret it!)

Lastly, I want to thank my sponsors, advisors, friends, and family for being a part of this journey. I would also like to thank Mays Business School and the Center for International Business Studies (CIBS) for creating opportunities like this for students like me! It has truly been one of a kind, and this would not have ever occurred without their love and support. I got more than what I expected from this opportunity, and I am truly grateful and humbled.

This is my last blog EVER, and goodbye for now Copenhagen. I will be back one day!

Categories: Denmark

As I am writing this, I can not believe this experience is over. If people had asked me if I would do it all over again, I would simply say yes. Last semester I had the opportunity to come to Cergy, and I loved it so much that I decided to do it again for the second time. Fair enough, Cergy isn’t the prettiest city but it is very cozy, and you do have Paris 35 minutes away. Having the chance to relive the experience in the same place allowed me to learn more things about the city. If you have the opportunity to live in Paris do it. The commute isn’t too bad, and there isn’t much to do in Cergy, so if you can find an apartment in Paris do it. If not, you will love Cergy, there will always be something going on within the residences. Living at a residence allowed me to build a great group of friends. Friends that have become like family, friends who you get to travel with.

At first, I thought, this would be like a normal school year, go to school make new friends and maybe get to know Paris a little bit more. However, this year not only did Paris become my home, but my friends also became my family, and I adopted some of the French cultures into my daily life. This experience completely changes my outlook on friendships, because the bonds that you form during this time are completely different from the friends back home. These friends become your family, your support system for six months. I truly believe you find your best friends here. When I came here, I thought it was going to be very difficult to adapt to a new culture. But being able to be part of Paris and its culture has made this experience 100% better. Know every time I’m able to have a conversation in French with a Parisienne I stop feeling like a tourist and feel like I belong here.

Even though I am going to miss Paris a lot, it does not compare to how much I am going to miss ESSEC. I thought I would never say that I will miss a school, but ESSEC and its students have won me over. The way that classes are taught at ESSEC allows you to see how life would be outside of school, it has introduced me to the finance world in a different way and has pushed me to challenge myself and see what I want to do when I graduate. The professors are very direct and will tell you what you need to hear to better yourself. It might be hard at first, but trust me you will learn plenty from them.

I truly don’t want this experience to end. I have grown and learned so much from it that it will be very hard to say goodbye. But I know that I will come back, meeting all these people from all over the world has opened up so many opportunities. Know I have friends that I can go visit around the world, and now it will be their chance to show me more about their cultures.

No matter what, this year has been one of the most amazing years of my life. And I will truly recommend ESSEC to anyone who not only wants to learn more about the French culture but also who wants to immerse themselves in a very diverse and fun community.

I just want to say thank you and I will miss you.

Categories: France

Howdy!

When I wrote my first blog post, I was not in the same place that I am now. I was still making my first friends and had not gotten a full appreciation of Maastricht yet. Well, my time abroad has done nothing but fly by! I am currently about to finish exams and do one last go-around of Europe with my family before coming home now.

To anyone who may gloss over studying in Maastricht because Dutch city names sound made up or may not be well known to Americans (myself included before studying here), I ask that you reconsider your options and give a look to Maastricht. This city has so much to offer in the literal heart of Europe (as the European Union was created here), cities such as Cologne, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Bruges are all within 3 hours of Maastricht by train. Even better, Brussels and Amsterdam are also airports with cheap flights across Europe as we got to travel to cities such as Munich, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, and Stockholm over the course of this semester. While the traveling is incredibly convenient, the city and university have so much to offer and shouldn’t be glossed over for bigger and more known cities. Maastricht University is more than 50% international, non-Dutch students, and there is a very large number of fellow exchange students. In my friend group, I am the only student from the US, with friends from Italy, France, Spain, England, Germany, and Greece.

Being close to so many internationals really opens your eyes to the world, and communication is not a problem as everyone speaks almost perfect English. Further, The Netherlands is literally THE best country in the world for English proficiency as a second language, from the checkout line scanner to the waiter. English is no problem which is pretty amazing, unless you are trying to learn Dutch then nobody lets you struggle in your practicing as they suggest switching to English right away! The city is also incredibly beautiful with a ton of history dating back to the Romans and even one of the Three Musketeers dying in Maastricht. We often found ourselves sitting outside at cafes and in the park soaking in the sun and studying together, or we’d go to cafes in the two main squares of Maastricht and just soak in such an awesome city. Maastricht is very much a student city and felt very vibrant and never once felt dead.

The university is really unorthodox though, as the university chooses to use a PBL (Problem Based Learning) system, where students prepare the material before “tutorials,” or small learning groups of no more than 12 students, discuss the material, and fill in the gaps of the subject as it is self-taught. While you have to stay on top of your work weekly, the learning format of actually getting to know your peers in such a small discussion group, compared to a 300-person lecture, allows you to meet local students and exchange students in a meaningful way. Also, courses are broken up into two “periods” where each period consists of two courses, so the workload is broken up nicely.

I would recommend the spring semester to those considering Maastricht, as there are a ton of public and national holidays during the spring that allows you to really experience Dutch culture. Koningsdag (the Dutch king’s birthday) was my favorite holiday, as it was in the middle of the week, we got a break from classes where everyone in the region came to Maastricht to celebrate in the streets from 10:00 in the morning until midnight, the whole city had live music and turned itself into a massive flea market on all the streets. The King himself even celebrated in Maastricht, as he celebrates in a different Dutch city each year, so Maastricht was especially electric this time.

In short, Maastricht is an amazing city, and Maastricht University is a great place to spend your semester abroad, to branch out and make friends from across the world while staying in the heart of Europe!

Categories: The Netherlands

My semester abroad at the University of Limerick in Ireland was nothing short of amazing. I made so many wonderful memories and friends from around the world and went on exciting adventures throughout the 4 months. I am extremely grateful I had the opportunity to do a semester abroad. I grew both personally and professionally in several ways. My confidence grew and I became more independent and surer of myself. By going out of my comfort zone to make new friends, learning how to use public transportation, navigating airports and unfamiliar places by myself, and more, I developed valuable life skills and boosted my confidence.

At first, being away from my home, family, and friends in a foreign country was a bit daunting and overwhelming, but I was able to adapt to my new environment and become increasingly self-reliant and mature. I felt challenged and empowered by overcoming new experiences. I discovered a ton of things about myself and realized just how capable I am. I worked on group projects with people from different countries and backgrounds as my own which allowed me to learn about new perspectives and develop cross-cultural awareness. I also improved my communication skills when engaging with individuals from Ireland and other international students.

One of my goals was to truly immerse myself in the culture and traditions of Ireland, and I achieved that. I interacted with the locals including my 5 Irish housemates, ate traditional cuisine, watched Gaelic sports, listened to Irish music, participated in Irish traditions and customs like making a St. Brigid’s cross on Saint Brigid’s Day (Imbolc), and traveled all around Ireland. My favorite and most interesting class I took this semester was Irish Folklore, where I learned about the customs and folklore of Ireland. For anyone going abroad, I recommend taking a class like this to learn firsthand about the history and customs of your host country! Additional tips I have for students going abroad include: try not to overpack (plan in advance), dress in layers, do not buy a new phone right before you go so you can get a local SIM card (you can only unlock your phone for a local SIM if your phone is paid off), join clubs and societies, go to campus and city events, eat and buy local, and above all else enjoy your time and live in the moment (your time abroad goes by so fast)!

The University of Limerick is an incredible school to study at. The campus is beautiful, accommodating, and an oasis of nature. The professors and students are friendly and welcoming, and since it is an internationally focused university, you can meet and work with people from all around the world. There are various clubs and societies to get involved and meet new people with shared interests. UL Global is extremely supportive and helps international students during the entire semester to be successful. There is an International Buddy Program that matches incoming international students with a student volunteer from UL based on similar interests. I loved my buddy/mentor and buddy group because we got along so well and hung out a bunch. My mentor helped me settle in and gave me useful tips and advice.

Among other events and activities, UL Global also set up seven Saturday day trips for students to easily tour Ireland. The trips were to the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle and Cork City, Killarney and Torc Waterfall, Dingle, Dublin, Galway, and the Aran Islands. I had such a wonderful time on these trips with friends and was grateful to go to 6 out of the 7 trips, only missing the Dublin one because I was going there later when my family visited. In addition to exploring Ireland, I traveled to other countries in Europe, including England, Italy, Spain, and Greece. I experienced incredible new foods, customs, people, landmarks, and other wonders while traveling and had some of the best times of my life.

Ireland and the University of Limerick surpassed my expectations and initial impressions. The weather was pleasant the majority of the time, the food was amazing, and the people were so kind and helpful. It was a nice change of pace with more free time and less demanding than school at Texas A&M, but still worthwhile and I learned valuable lessons. While abroad, I gained a new perspective on the world and a better understanding and appreciation of other cultures. I expanded my worldview and became a better global citizen. I will use the skills I developed while abroad in work and school to become a well-rounded leader able to engage with diverse individuals.

The memories and friendships I created made for an unforgettable and rewarding 4 months. My time in Ireland was exciting, fulfilling, and life-changing. I experienced new cultures and grew as an individual. This experience changed me in more ways than I could have imagined. I knew studying in a foreign place was going to be fun, but I did not foresee the extent to which I would enjoy it and thrive. I am a strong advocate for studying abroad and could not recommend it enough. My time abroad expanded my outlook on life and led me to want to pursue an internship and/or a job abroad. It is bittersweet going home because as excited I am to see my family and friends (and eat Tex-Mex), I will miss Ireland and the new friends I made. I love Ireland dearly and hope to come back soon!

The pictures attached below are of me at the Cliffs of Moher and Blarney Castle (where I kissed the Blarney stone and received the gift of the gab).

Categories: Ireland

When I left for France, I didn’t have much of an idea of what my study abroad would entail. I figured I would have fun, travel and meet new people, but I had no idea how much this experience would have changed me. The amount of confidence and independence I have gained was something I don’t think I would have gained if I didn’t take the chance and study abroad. I was able to meet new people who were vastly different from me and travel with them, or even traveling solo. All these things gave me confidence and experience in planning, putting myself out there, and just overall confidence in myself. 

Furthermore, my understanding of France and its culture had altered as well. I thought many people would be the stereotypical French, standoffish and rude. While the standoffish part was correct, as many French students didn’t put themselves out there to introduce themselves in classrooms, the rudeness factor was completely wrong. Even in simple encounters in stores, most were always kind and willing to speak some English when I was having trouble speaking French. Although some Parisians did live up to my initial judgments. 

One of the things I was most happy about was my location in France, Strasbourg. It was the perfect mix of history and culture, and still had a city scene. In addition, the architecture and it being considered one of the European capitals, I never got bored of exploring it and learning all that I could. With its large cathedral that can be seen from miles away, everytime I came back from traveling, I’d see it in the distance and knew I was home. I didn’t experience much of a culture shock when I arrived, and I think it was because Strasbourg didn’t overwhelm me. It was a sweet city that wasn’t dangerous or a really big city. The people were kind and it was easy to get into a routine and become comfortable with the area. 

My study abroad might have started off on the wrong foot, but it quickly became my favorite college experience, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Categories: France

I truly had the most amazing time living and studying in Strasbourg France. Now that my time is over there I have started to digest and reflect on my time abroad! The cultural lifestyle has definitely impacted me. I feel less stress in terms of rushing to complete my life goals and feel like I have had so many more opportunities for me to explore, especially abroad. I have even considered moving abroad for work, which is a thought I had before going but now I see as a real possibility. Through my French class and day-to-day living, I really have an understanding of how business is conducted here and how they work day to day. All of my professors were french and more often than not we would get to class at the same time, if not them after me. You are considered on time when the class time starts so no worry to get there way before the start time, (but also don’t show up more than 5 minutes late). In restaurants, there were many times when we stayed past closing and I had to wave down the waiter to pay and go home. 

I feel like my biggest learning adjustment was all of the travel I did abroad. Traveling by train was totally new to me and felt foreign for the first few months. But thankfully the train always showed up and once aboard it was so peaceful. Everyone is always very respectful and tends to themselves during the ride. I really benefited from public transportation and miss it now that I am back in the states. 

While abroad I was able to visit 13 countries and countless cities. My eyes are truly opened to the world around me and I have a new appreciation for cultures I did not know before. One of the largest impacts of my trip was the food. Trying new and traditional foods was so much fun and really made up a lot of my travels. I feel encouraged to try new things and look more into other cultures. Another thing I learned was how enforced the EU mindset is among EU countries. Students are highly encouraged to go abroad and learned that in most friend groups everyone studies abroad. I definitely have encouraged my friends back home to consider it if they have the chance to!

It is crazy to think that part of me already misses living abroad and being surrounded by a language I only somewhat speak. I feel that studying abroad was a healthy challenge that pushed me to be more independent, creative, and resilient. I was definitely tired a lot of the time but in the moments in between I was experiencing once-in-a-lifetime adventures. I am so thankful to have gone on this semester abroad and encourage others to do the same!

Categories: France

I cannot believe my semester in France is already coming to an end! The last 4 months have been packed with so many amazing adventures and I have absolutely loved it! My schedule this semester gave me a lot of free time for traveling and enjoying the cultural things within Strasbourg like visiting museums, going to French movies and seeing concerts! One of the many things I loved about living in France is their encouragement of young people to develop themselves by learning more about the country’s culture. They do this by giving lots of student discounts and allowing students to get in free museums all over France. This is one of the many ways that France works to protect their culture from other influences and it is something that I really respect about the country. I also took a French Culture class at EM and it was so helpful in understanding some cultural things that I was not aware of which helped me navigate some culture shock that I experienced throughout the semester. Also, I even became friends with the receptionist at my residence who helped me practice my French! Overall, I really enjoyed the lifestyle in Strasbourg. Some things I liked doing were walking around the canals that surrounded the city, reading in cafes or at the Parc de l’Orangerie, and going to a language cafe and meeting other international students. There was always a nice atmosphere and plenty to do and enjoy around the city. 

My classes at EM were also really interesting and I enjoyed having the opportunity to work on projects with people from all over the world. EM Strasbourg is big on group projects so I had one in every one of my classes. I also really liked how all my professors placed a lot of emphasis on applying the information we learned by doing workshops. There really was not much actual school work besides a midterm assignment and the final exam, so I had to really make sure I kept up with the material. But, it allowed me to have a little more relaxed schedule and not feel stressed about deadlines all the time. 

Looking back at the beginning of my exchange, it was really hard in the beginning with culture shock and being far away from my family and friends back home. But, I am so glad I decided to come to France for a semester because it challenged me in so many ways and it gave me an opportunity to meet so many new people and visit so many new places! I learned so much about myself throughout the semester and I plan to incorporate these things into my everyday life back at home. For instance, I learned how to be more spontaneous and open to new experiences because that is where you have the best moments and make the best memories! I also learned to enjoy the little moments of everyday life, like strolling through a park or just sitting on a bench reading and enjoying beautiful weather. Daily life was definitely not as hectic as it is back home since I was not in class as often and didn’t have as much school work. So, it was a nice change in pace and allowed me to really take in and enjoy the culture. Overall, my semester in France was absolutely amazing and it has definitely helped me develop a more global mindset which will be helpful wherever I go!

Categories: France

Wow this semester flew by and I can’t believe that it’s almost time for me to return home to the US. It was a great semester in Nottingham, England. I got to see so many different places, meet new people, and I learned so much during my time here.

This semester was a nice change of pace from my previous ones at A&M. As I explained in my first blog post, I didn’t have any weekly assignments or quizzes or regular exams. My grades are dependent on one final exam at the end of the semester, so I had a lot of time to relax. I love to read so I was able to finish quite a few books this semester. Another thing I did with my downtime was travel. I was able to visit London several times and I enjoyed exploring the city. London is only a two-hour train ride from Nottingham, so I was able to plan both day and weekend trips. I loved the city so much that I’m considering moving there for a few years after I graduate. It’s such a diverse and unique city and I think it would be a cool place to live for a bit.

One of the biggest lessons I learned while being here is the importance of balance. There is a saying that Americans live to work but Europeans work to live, and that is something I experienced firsthand during my semester abroad. Students are more concerned with living life and enjoying their time at university than they are with studying and grades. This was frustrating at times, but I gradually began to understand that having the mentality that school and grades are not the end all be all is not a bad thing. While I do believe that working hard is important, I now understand the significance of having a good school/life balance. Taking time to relax and enjoy the present moment is important. I was able to have a better school/life balance this semester and it was good for me. I hope I can maintain this balance during my last two semesters at A&M as well as carry it forward into my working career.

One thing I will not miss about England is the food. I’m sorry to say that English food is not very good. It’s very bland, everything is boiled, and I very quickly discovered that potatoes are served with every meal. It made me appreciate and enjoy the food I ate during my travels outside of England. I’m looking forward to getting some Chick-fil-a and some tacos upon my return to the US.

The end of this semester and the close of my study abroad trip are bittersweet. I am looking forward to going home and seeing my friends and family. But I will miss the friends that I made in Nottingham and the travel opportunities that this semester abroad provided me with. I had so much fun exploring England and traveling to other European countries as well. I am so grateful that I was able to study abroad this semester and that I was able to learn so many valuable life lessons during my time here. Goodbye for now, England. Hopefully, I will see you again soon!

Categories: United Kingdom

This is Ngoc Huynh, Class of ’23, and a Management-HRM Major with a Minor in Psychology. I am writing this about 85% through my Exchange in Copenhagen, Denmark (DK). At this point, I have only 1 take-home exam left (05/31/22 – 06/07/22), and there is about 1 month left to go. I am attending Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and taking 12 credit hours over here. I can finally say that I am feeling homesick. However, a large factor contributing to that is my roommate leaving to go back home to Hong Kong. I literally went to the airport and sent her off. When I came back to our place, it still did not feel real until I woke up and saw her side of the room empty. We really bonded and I will miss her. Thanks to the power of the internet and WhatsApp, we can keep in contact! Anyway, I will be exploring and having fun in Copenhagen in her name! I believe I am just feeling homesick because the end is coming. Though it is fun, there are just some things you do miss. I usually do not travel back and forth from College Station to my hometown because it is an 8+ hours drive to and back. Because of that, I cherish summer because it means family and friends time for me. In addition to that, many of my close friends are graduating, so it sucks that I could not physically be there for them. Me staying until June 14 does put a damper in my original summer plans, but I chose that because CBS did not release their exam date until basically the start of the semester (February 1-ish) and I wanted to be safe.

Me and my roommate, Tiffany, at the airport before she left and after we were fighting against Father Time.

Right now, I am preparing for the end by preparing for my last exam, buying souvenirs, and trying to figure out my coming-back meal. From what I noticed, I believe that Danes love the Japanese culture, artisanal goods, and sweets. (They have one of the highest candy consumptions in the world!). They have that all around, so I am keeping an eye out. Also, I am starting this process early because I do not know if COVID regulations will be changing, so it is better to start a head of time. I will not have to fight against time, COVID, and government/company regulations. Moving on, typically, I do not support Pandora USA because it is just very simple and basic jewelry, but I will admit that Pandora DK hits differently. It makes sense since Denmark is the birthplace of Pandora. They have so many beautiful pieces and these designs are not available in the US market. Because of that, I bought my mom a whole set for Mother’s Day, her souvenir, her whatever, etc. It is kind of “one-of-a-kind” and a great set that encapsulates “Denmark.” My other 3 sisters are all figured out. Luckily, I am able to find almost everyone in my nucleus family something that relates to their interests, my wallet, and Denmark. I am just struggling to find a gift for my dad since he does not care for food, clothes, alcohols, etc.—he is a succulent; he just needs water and sunlight. My roommate, for her souvenirs, focused on artisanal foods and craftsmanship, so she got chocolates, cheeses from specialty stores in Torvehallerne (Copenhagen Food Hall/Market) and pottery/porcelain from places like the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain and Studio Arhoj.

My view when I was going around and buying souvenirs.

Yeah, there’s really not much to say this blog. I was literally fighting for my life against a Principles of Corporate Finance exam, so I could not physically allow myself to go out and about. I was just more focused on the exam because if I did not pass this course—literally, only this course, I would have had to graduate a whole semester later. This course is a prerequisite to my capstone course, and I really needed it. No pressure, of course. Now, it is just me trying to finish up a few things. I just want to be able to see more sites, buy more souvenirs, and just leisurely enjoy my last month here!

Categories: Denmark

Throughout my semester abroad, I felt that I really got a feel for the French lifestyle and how the culture differs from that of the US from a business stand point. It was really interesting being able to engage with so many different individuals from all over the world. My classes at EM Strasbourg were filled with all international students, which made for a really fun class atmosphere. Each individual truly brought something unique to the table that I never would have gotten the chance to experience at home in the States. For example, in my Business Negotiations class, we were put in groups to simulate a negotiation between a seller and a buyer of a certain good or service, and the individuality of each group member being from a different country and culture made for a very insightful look into what it really means to have a global mindset, especially in a business setting.

I adored living in Strasbourg, especially once spring time rolled around. All of the trees were in bloom with absolutely beautiful pink, yellow, and purple flowers surrounding the river banks that ran around the city center. It seemed that once the sun came out, so did the people. During the winter months of January, February, and even into March, the skies were pretty grey every day, nobody wanted to be outside, and the ambiance in general could be a bit gloomy because of it. However, when the weather warmed up and everything started blooming, the entire city got a whole new feeling to it, which was absolutely delightful. The streets were always busy and everyday you’d pass at least 10 people sunbathing in the grass along the river.

I’d say my initial impressions of French people and French culture were generally pretty accurate. They remained pretty closed off and impersonal to strangers, but I definitely got used to it as time went on. The more time I spent in France, the more I was able to appreciate and develop an affinity for the private lifestyle of French people, and overall, the European lifestyle.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t change a thing about my abroad experience! There were challenging times for sure, but immersing myself in a foreign country and accepting the culture as my own has taught me so much and has truly broadened my world view. I’d recommend Strasbourg to any student looking for an immersive exchange experience!

Categories: France