Ashley Dalbec '21

Program: France Fall Semester

Major: French

Minor: Secondary Ed, TESL


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

I chose to study abroad to gain skills relevant to my major, increase my global connections, and make lasting memories. I decided on this program because you can meet international students and learn the French language in an international environment.

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

Talking with international students about cultural differences and our experiences of France opened my eyes to the diversity in our world today. I remember eating dinner with international students and only being able to communicate in French. It challenged me and inspired me as a person and student.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Study abroad was a grand adventure filled with learning inside and outside of the classroom. I made lasting relationships with people from all over the world and accomplished many personal goals. I grew as a person and a student through the unique experiences one can only gain from studying abroad.

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?

A semester abroad gives you enough time to truly get to know a place and its culture. It pushes you out of your comfort zone because you are away from home that long, but it is extremely rewarding as a result. Studying abroad taught me independence and how to have a more global mindset. I increased the skills in my major tenfold because I was using French every day in practical ways. I developed as a professional by increasing my ability to understand other cultures, communication styles, and identity.

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

Set goals for yourself ahead of time, but be open to the possibilities of change. A lot of my best memories or lessons happened when things didn't go according to plan or I was open to a new experience I never anticipated having. Make lasting and intentional relationships with those around you, not just within the CSB+SJU group of students, but with those from the community in the place where you live abroad.