Joshua Eggebraaten is an Ambassador who studied abroad in France
Major: Biology and Pre-Dentistry
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because I had the opportunity too. I had always heard great stories and experiences from others who went abroad! I wanted to dive into a different culture and be open to trying new things. I wanted to learn about myself and also challenge myself. This program almost accidentally approached me. I applied for London Spring but was unable to get in. After a talk with my FR my desire to go abroad was 10/10. I found that the France Fall program was taking more applications but I was hesitant on applying since I had no French background. I took a leap and decided on a program to an unfamiliar language and country.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
My French friend Marco. Marco worked at the college in France and was very patient and helpful. Since I entered France with no French we had to communicate in English which was difficult for him. He helped me along with my French and became a great friend. His patience helped me so much in tackling the language and he didn't care how many questions I asked.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Unforgettable! I was just going through my picture album today actually and was reminiscing. Traveling all over the place (France, Spain, Italy, Ireland) was an eye opening experience. Indulging in the culture of France gave me a view of how and where I was raised. More importantly though are the friends I made. Studying abroad built concrete relationships with people I didn't know before the adventure. I can name 13 bennies and johnnies and two co-directors that I share something great with. Learning a new language with no previous background or classes was a challenge but so rewarding. The language was one of the many highlights of my abroad experience.
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
Studying abroad really helped search for who I am and to really push myself hard. An academic goal of mine in France was to learn French. This taught me to push through difficulties, to put in the time and to ask questions. I found that questions were vital to learning a whole new language that is taught in that language. It was a shock at first, learning French in French when I didn't know any French. Pushing through those first few months of class brought out a diligence in myself. I was urgently trying to learn more and more about the language. I loved being French. I learned a completely new language and faced challenges I didn't even think were coming. When had our first seminar course with Beth we wrote down a few goals that we wanted to achieve while in France. I wrote that I wanted to be conversational in French and to shadow a French dentist. As a pre-dental student I'm not only required to but I want to shadow dentists. I've shadowed a few dentists in the US and even in Nicaragua but France was a new challenge. I asked again and again for the director of the college to let me shadow a dentist. After about three months when my French was learned I completed this goal of shadowing a dentist. I went in once a week for a few hours the last month of our time there.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Research research research! Know about where you are going! Be open to opportunities while abroad and bring your proactive self. Work hard while you're abroad to build relationships with johnnies/bennies and people from other countries. Find a student who has been on the program of your interest and ask them questions! They will most likely be plump full of knowledge and advice.