Mapy Mejia Florez

Mapy is an Ambassador who studied abroad in France

Major: Political Science/ Sociology

Minor: French Studies


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

I decided to study abroad in France because I wanted to learn more about the French culture and the quotidian life. I also wanted to improve my language skills. I thought that learning the language and the culture simultaneously would give me a better understanding of France and its society. I decided on the France program after taking French courses as a first-year student. While a first-year, I made that my long-term goal, to be able to study abroad in France.                       

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

While in France, I found really interesting how people interact in restaurants and stores. Unlike the United States, the French really commit on service rather than making the customer their priority. Sure, the customers are significant assets, but the employees are the ones that make it possible for the business to succeed. I actually admired that because it shows a sign of respect for the employees. The employees are valuable members to keep the business moving. 

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

My overall experience abroad was exceptional. I feel that the French program is a program where students are able to get out of their comfort zone and really shapes them. This program really made grow as a person and see things in a different light. There were definitely many times where every single person in our group took a leap of faith and made it into an accomplishment. France was full of memories and challenges that I won't forget. I definitely left a part of me in France and I can't wait to go back.

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?

The benefits of spending time abroad the ability to learn more about the place and yourself. While abroad, I made friends with students from around the world and it was amazing to have the opportunity to learn more about them and their culture. That made me go out of my way and comfort zone to talk to different kinds of people, especially while speaking in another language. Engaging with different kinds of people made me open my eyes. Through these experiences, it helped me open up and accomplish my personal goals.
I think by speaking more French and really committing to it, really helped me. I believe by learning a different language is an advantage for many opportunities, more specifically for jobs. I would like to have a political and social career and learning French is an advantage to be able to communicate and make a difference for change in global communities. By continuing improving my French language skills and other particular goals, I'm still not done with my professional goals.
The educational system in France is different than the United States, and I think adjusting to their education system was good because it made me more studious and challenged me academically. By challenging myself academically, I was able to satisfy my goals.

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

I would say to do it because it's an experience where you're able to learn a lot. It's an experience where you can challenge yourself and grow as a person. You learn more about yourself and the people around you. You meet some amazing people both in your group and on campus. You make unforgettable memories and create fun stories to tell family and friends. Take the opportunity!