Matthew Berthiaume

Matthew is an Ambassador who studied abroad in France
Major: GBUS

Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?

I was originally not planning on studying abroad at all until my friends came back from their programs and told me their stories. I wanted to have the same experience of coming back to the US and sharing what I learned with my friends and family. I decided on the France program because I have always been intrigued with European Culture and I wanted to choose a place I knew I could spend 4 months in without getting sick of it.

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.

I took a French Civilization class and our teacher told us, "French people only talk about 2 things, politics and food." I couldn't agree more as one of the first impressions I had on French culture was the importance of their meals. If you were to eat out at a restaurant, you would expect to be there for an hour and a half or longer, receiving a lovely three course meal. We took a night off of eating at the Collège and learned how to make our own French dish, which was probably the best meal I had. (The kebabs are pretty good too)

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

It was worth every Euro.

Like I said before, I was against studying abroad basically until the day I left. I choose this program on a whim not knowing anyone on the program and knowing absolutely no French at all. The second I flew into the Nice airport I realized I made the right decision. Aside from the perfect weather, Beautiful city, and the beach, I had the opportunity to see and do things I may never do again in my life. Not only did I experience and learn about the French culture, but I also picked up a little French along the way. The Collège attracts people from all around the world to learn French which made easy to make friends and learn about other countries too. I was able to travel to 2 other countries in Europe, which was very easy and affordable. I made friends and memories that I plan to keep for the rest of my life.

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 has taught me many skills that will look great on a résumé, such as adaptability and initiative. It has changed the way I view the countries I have visited and given me a different perspective on the world.

What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?

Use this as an opportunity to expand your knowledge of the world and gain experience in your current field. It is a great way to try things you wouldn't normally do and take advantage of a travel opportunity that you may not get the chance to do after college.

Questions?
Do you have questions about studying abroad in France?  Email Mathhew at mjberthiaume@csbsju.edu