Aye Bra Tha '20

Program: France Fall Semester

Major: Communication

Minor: Arts

Student Athlete: Club Soccer


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

I wanted to study abroad for as long as I can remembered. The first time I heard about study abroad was during my high school years in College Upward Bound program. Many of these stories are from my mentors, teachers, and friends that studied abroad. They all told me that study abroad is one of the best choice you will ever made when you go to college. From there on, I look forward studying abroad once I started my first year of college. I personally wanted to study abroad because I want to get out of my comfort zone, I want to travel the world, I want to meet new people and I want to try as many new things as possible. My overall goals is to creates an experience of a lifetime with the new friends I make everywhere I go and take my experience as a lesson to guide me to become more mature, more open minded, and more confident in myself. Before I made up my mind about which program I wanted to go to, I look through at least four or five different programs and review them with my advisor to make sure which program fit me the most. Once I made up my mind that I wanted to study abroad in France, there was no going back and nobody was going to get in my way. Before I know, my study abroad journey have came to an end and it was one of the best choice I ever made in my life.

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

One of the most memorable cultural experience I had when I was studying in France was having an 3 or more hours lunch break with a group of elders who I pick grapes with. This was one of my most memorable cultural experience because I never in my life have had an lunch break that is longer than 3 hours. It was my first time picking grapes and it was my first time having a sit down lunch with the elders that I met in France. While I was eating, I got to meet and talk to a lot of amazing people who warmed my heart every time I think about it. Not only did I build a strong relationship with them, I also learn to appreciate eating with friends and family because I never really took the time to eat with my family back home. In addition, the reasons why the French people like to take time eating lunch is because they believe in building strong connection. Normally, their minimum hour is 2 hours and the maximum hour can goes up to 6 or more hours. They do this a lot because spending time with friends and family is very important to them. One thing I took away from this experience is that I learn to appreciate every little things that my friends and family have done for me. when I got home, I started to take my time eating with my family and make sure I don’t waste any of those precious time I have with them.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Overall, studying abroad in France is one of the best choice I ever made in my life. If I would go back and redo all of this again, I would go back without anyone asking me. Everything that happened to me while I was abroad was all positive experience. I got to ride a horse for the first time in my life and in facts, I got to experience everything for the first time whenever I went. In addition to the food, I got to tried so many different type of food in France and in other country that I got to travel to. The landscapes are beautiful, the people are amazing, and everyday, it felt like I was in paradise. One of my favorite and our favorite thing to do as a whole group is go the beach everyday after class. The weather is warm and it make you want to relax at the beach everyday. The other thing that I love about my experience abroad is that I got to meet many people from around the world and now, I can tell people that I have friends from different corner of the world. One thing I can say about my experience abroad is “The greatest reward and luxury of traveling is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time”.

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?

Some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad is getting to creates and have a lifetime experience that you will never forget. Not only will you get to have a lifetime experience, you will always become more mindful, more open minded, and appreciate the little things in life. From there, you will also learn to become more independent and gain new skills that you never knew about. Spending a semester abroad help you get out of your comfort zone and help you find out what you want to do after college in the long run. I personally have experienced all of these while I was abroad and I would do it again. I have recommended my peers to participates in study abroad and I would greatly recommend other to do the same as well.

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

If you are planning to or considering to study abroad, go for it. Don’t be afraid about how much it will cost or what you might miss out at home, and definitely, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. I say this because studying abroad is one of those opportunity that you don’t want to miss out. You are in charge of what you want to do and you are in charge of building your own future. Own it, and go where the wind take you because unexpected destination often lead to beautiful destinations. Lastly, step out of your comfort zone because you will experience a lot of cultural events that will have an everlasting impact on your life.