Shannon Elstad

Shannon is an Ambassador who studied abroad in France

Major: Biology and French


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

As a French major, studying abroad in France was a good fit in several ways. Not only did the France program fill major requirements, but it provided an experience in French culture that I never would have received from a textbook. Take all of that plus the fabulous weather into account, and there wasn't much doubt in my mind that this was the right program for me!                              

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

One of my favorite traditions from France was the pause. Our classes were three hours long, so we would have a break in the middle, and everyone would go to the café to get coffee or just to hang out and chat (in French, as much as possible!). It was a good way to relax and catch up with everyone around campus!

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

My study abroad experience was an amazing and unforgettable semester. We spoke French, ate French food, and learned about French politics. Staying at an international school gave us the opportunity to meet so many new friends from a wide variety of cultures and nationalities. We lived in the moment and soaked in as much of the French culture and atmosphere as we could.

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?

I've seen many benefits from studying abroad. For starters, I feel more comfortable speaking French. Studying in Cannes also gave me a better understanding of how people from other places understand our culture. After returning from France, I feel more confident in my ability to discuss my opinions while keeping an open mind to what others might think.

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

Take advantage of all the time you have abroad. Explore the city, go to the market, take the train somewhere you've never heard of. Studying abroad is an experience unlike any other, and I would recommend immersing yourself in the culture as much as you can.