Samuel Illgen

Samuel is an Ambassador who studied abroad in France

Major: Global Business

Minor: Political Science

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

I chose to study abroad because I wanted to gain knowledge on the international relations between France and the Untied States. I also was interested in seeing how the infrastructure in France is different than then Unites States. Looking into the social norms of France and how they were different from the United States was a very important part of my study abroad experience.
I chose to study in France because I have always wanted to visit Paris, and other areas in France and I was very interested in learning another language other than english and spanish.

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

One big cultural experience I encountered was the language barrier. I had never taken a French course and had very little to no knowledge of the French language. When I first arrived in France it was very difficult to overcome this barrier but I was able to gather an understanding of the language quickly and with the help of my peers and the French people ( who were very understanding).
This made a lasting impression because I realized that a overwhelming majority of the French speak english fluently or very well. This made me think that we should begin to learn more languages here because of how accepting and helpful the people were with my language barrier there.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

My experience was one that I never wanted to end. As much as I missed CSB/SJU and my friends and family back here I can truly say due to the people I met and how wonderful my instructor was France will always be considered my home away from home.
My experience was more than I could have ever asked for. Being able to travel with new international and CSB/SJU friends was an amazing 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?

Personally you learn more about yourself because you really are on your own, doing your own thing while abroad. Personally it really helps you grow as a person because you learn more about things you may be interested in that you never knew you were into
Academically it helped me become less stressed and realize what I am really interested in doing for a possible career path. Going abroad helps you realize there is so much more opportunities and possibilities for you than you think.

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

Don't worry about adding that extra couple grand to your tuition. I know this is a touchy subject and it is for myself as well but you will never have an opportunity like this again where you could spend four months in one of the best places in the world for such little costs.
Also, go abroad to where YOU want to go, not where your friends are going. Before I left for France I knew no one in my group but once I got to know the people on my trip and the people at the college, I created so many great friendships with so many people from all over the world.