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Samantha Fielder's exchange with SKEMA Business School

"Studying abroad is not easy or cheap and that's the truth, but it is not impossible."

Program: BMGT Exchange: SKEMA Business School (SKEMA) (France)
Term: Spring 2022
Major: International Business & Marketing

While studying abroad, I have been able to meet people from all over the world. 

By attending an international school in France, I got to meet people and learn about French views but I also had the opportunity to learn about views from all over the world. Leaving the US has given me the opportunity to see how the rest of the world views the US but also how the US views itself. I have been able to gain better idea of how interconnect the world really is and learn about other cultures. The way people act towards one another in other countries varies greatly and this has allowed me to take a new perspective on how I should be treated and how I should treat others.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: 

As a woman, I was definitely worried about my overall safety studying abroad. My advice would be to do what you need to feel comfortable and safe. Do not feel that you need to do something or go somewhere simply because your friends are doing something. Everyone has a different level of comfortability and this is your study abroad experience.

 I lived in the small town of Antibes France, located outside of Nice. One weekend a couple of friends I had made in school and I decided to travel to Paris. 

While in Paris we enjoyed plenty of food and after dinner one night we were walking the streets of France. During this time we made friends with a French girl who was studying in Paris. She introduced us to her friends and we went back with them to one of their apartments. We spent the evening speaking in French and trying to cross the language barrier to get to know one another. This was the first time I really felt immersed in the French culture. Although I did not speak great French and they did not speak great English we were able to build a connection and a friendship I will never forget.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: 

Studying abroad is not easy or cheap and that's the truth, but it is not impossible. I was worried about the cost but when you study abroad in my case I was paying the same tuition to UMD. Also, many costs of living happened to be cheaper where I was studying abroad such as food and rent. I also have been able to use flight comparison websites to compare prices and get cheaper flights.

The hardest part of studying abroad was the first few days I was there. I went abroad to a school where I did not know any other students. 

I was alone on the first few days and had to settle myself down in a country where I was not fluent in their language. What allowed me to be able to move past overwhelming feelings was recognizing how impressive was what I did was. I created a list of things I need to do to feel settled and just focused on my own well-being making sure I had everything I needed to feel comfortable. I made friends when my classes started and by that time I was comfortable with my surroundings.

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