Bonjour! My name is Awa Marenah and I Studied Abroad in Paris, France. (Spring 2015)
In order to enhance my cultural competence, I took the opportunity to study abroad in the lovely country of France during the Spring semester of my Junior year. Not only has the experience augmented my ability to navigate through different societies, but it has also heightened my understanding of the world around me. Being in a different country has its disadvantages thus making you vulnerable. This kind of vulnerability allowed me to find tranquility. There were days where I felt so displaced in the country and misunderstood absolutely everything! This compelled me to respect the perspectives and cultures of others. Inevitably, these characteristics have become instilled in me and allow me to embrace every aspect of life. From Italy to Spain to London and Morocco, I have met some of the most kind people on this earth and have learned so much more than I could ever finance. For the first time in my life, I was not identified as someone’s twin sister. I began speaking a language everyday that I had no prior knowledge of. I learned how to use public transportation. Effectively! I learned that sometimes you cannot receive that perfect order and all you can do is take the tomatoes out of the Croque-Monsieur (French Sandwich). I realized the magnitude of keeping family and friends close. And most importantly, I learned that some things/people are simply not meant for you and moving on is just a closer step towards the right direction.
Today, I stress the importance of studying and traveling abroad because of the huge impact that It has made on myself. Just through one semester alone, I was able to break through a plethora of innate adversity which unknowingly, ratified a majority of my upbringing. For those of you who are even remotely thinking about studying abroad, just do it! The fact that you’ve studied abroad will answer many people’s questions about what type of person you are even before they have to ask. In addition, the experience will allow you to become more marketable to grad schools and employers because of the intangible life skills you’re going to pick up along the way. Almost as if you gained some sort of cultural stamp. All in all, the benefits of study abroad are endless!