Studying abroad enables students to earn academic credit while greatly enhancing their resume and with summer right around the corner, now is a great time for your student to explore all programs offered by Mason’s Center for Global Education. See below for sophomore Rondene Grinam’s experience studying abroad in Paris, France:
Since the year I enrolled in my first French class in high school I have gained and cultivated a profound sense of appreciation for language and culture. I fell in love with the knowledge of French culture that I have obtained since, and I cannot get enough of the music, the food, the customs, and the language of France. You can imagine how excited I was to learn that the Center for Global Education offers a French Language Study Program in Paris, France each summer.
I had always known I would study abroad in college, but one of my main concerns was trading valuable time on campus for time abroad. Since this trip is offered during the summer I didn’t have to worry about that. After I had done some more research on the Center for Global Education’s website, globaled.gmu.edu, I discussed it with my mom and with my academic advisors and determined that this would be the best way to complete my foreign language requirement for my Honors College Communication major. This trip seemed perfect for me! My next step would be applying for it.
First, I made an appointment with the program director for the tour, Erin Mateu. Meeting with a program director is the absolute best way to begin the application process. She provided me with a checklist of things to do in order to complete my application by the summer program deadline, a cost breakdown to let me know exactly how I should begin financing my trip, and told me about scholarships to which I could apply. I ended up being able to utilize a scholarship offered by the Center for Global Education to pay for a portion of my airfare.
With the guidance of my program and faculty directors I was able to book my flight and prepare for my trip once my program and scholarship applications were submitted and approved. I found it extremely helpful that both my program and faculty directors were only a quick email away throughout the entire application process.
After booking my flight and four long months of waiting, I finally arrived in France in May! I spent four weeks in one of the world’s most beautiful cities and was able to practice my French not only in my two classes every day, but also in my interactions with others. We stayed in a hostel for international students in Paris and we studied at the Alliance Française, where I was able to meet students from all over the world. When we weren’t in class, we had an abundance of time to explore Paris and walk or take the metro to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, or the Champs Elysees. We went on a few excursions as a group, including a boat tour on the Seine River and a weekend trip to Normandy. However, we were also free to explore on our own, and a few of us went to Disneyland Paris on a weekend we had free; others went to London or Spain. The possibilities were endless!
Embarking on this trip was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life and I fervently recommend studying abroad for every student. The Center for Global Education offers a variety of programs in almost 50 countries. There is truly something for everyone.
As displayed by Rondene’s story, a successful study abroad experience begins in the cold of winter with thoughtful research, planning, and preparation. The deadline to apply for summer study abroad programs is March 8. Encourage your student to visit globaled.gmu.edu for more information or stop by the Center for Global Education on the second floor of the Johnson Center to visit with a Center for Global Education Program Officer and begin their study abroad experience today!
Office of Orientation and Family Programs and Services
Rondene C. Grinam
George Mason University Class of 2016
B.A. Communication and Global Affairs