This week we continue our series, Male Students in Study Abroad with our Alumni Ambassador and junior at Hofstra University, Matthew Morgan. Here, Matthew talks about his second time studying abroad with CEA in Paris, France, after his first experience with the Rotary Club in the south of France, just outside Paris. CEA: Please provide a short summary of your study abroad experience: Matthew: My study abroad with CEA was one of the best experiences of my life. I arrived in Paris in early August for the early start program. I lived alone in an apartment for 2 weeks, but it helped me get acquainted with the city and the metro before the others arrived for the start of the semester. When the semester started, I moved into AEPP, which is the international dormitory. It was the highlight of the whole experience. I made so many friends from around the world that I still keep in touch with. The classes I took with CEA were great because they taught me about the city I came in contact with every time I stepped outside of campus. It was the first time I never sat in the classroom asking myself, “When am I going to need this?” The excursions were all great and allowed me to meet and interact with other people in the program I did not get to see as often. The experience with CEA surpassed all my expectations, and I had a high bar set going in. CEA: Why did you choose to study abroad? Matthew: I chose to study abroad because I had already studied abroad for 10 months after I graduated high school, and I was dying to return to France, mainly Paris. I lived about an hour outside of Paris during my last experience so I wanted to actually live in Paris, and CEA offered me that opportunity with the most benefits. CEA: What skills did you learn or improve upon during your time abroad? Matthew: My ability to speak French definitely improved thanks to the foundational skills I had before I arrived, my great French teacher, and of course being immersed within the culture. Also my worldview was broadened a lot living in another culture, as well as living in an international dorm that caused me to have interactions with people of all cultures. CEA: How have you changed since your experience abroad? Matthew: Studying abroad has made me more independent, confident and a better citizen of the world. Study abroad is a path not chosen by many, so you have to be independent to make the choice in the first place. Confidence is something you gain being put into another culture and assimilating to another culture totally different from your own. Becoming a better citizen of the world comes from meeting new people from around the world and learning to understand the similarities and differences of people different from you. CEA: How has your study abroad experience impacted your life, academics, and/or future career goals? Matthew: My abroad experience has impacted all of those facets. I now have friends all over the world who I can visit and stay with whenever I am in their country, and I would do the same. It has affected my academics by helping to provide me with the credits I’ll need to obtain a French minor. The experience has also made me realize how much I love study abroad, and want to work in that field when I graduate college. CEA: Why do you think it’s important for male students/all students to study abroad? Matthew: I feel it is important to get a broader worldview and step outside of the box a bit. Also, it is good to shake things up a bit in your life, feel uncomfortable and experience something new. The experience of study abroad makes you realize what is most important in your life, it gives you a perspective and it gives your life more meaning. CEA: If you could give any piece of advice to other male students considering study abroad, what would it be? Matthew: I only have one thing to say to male students who are considering study abroad, “70%/30%.” That is the ratio of female to male students in an average program. That was a small joke, but the real piece of advice is that the world is getting smaller and no matter what career choice you are pursuing you’re going to be affected by globalization. So if you go out there and experience another culture and learn to adjust to foreign and unfamiliar situations, you will be far ahead and a far more valuable asset in comparison to other males in your field. CEA: Please share any more of your perspective on studying abroad and male participation: Matthew: Study abroad is one of the best experiences of my life and I feel that it is important for every student to take advantage of this opportunity. The chance to immerse yourself so fully in another culture while still getting credit for school is a chance that is fleeting. You can travel the world when you’re older, but you’ll probably only stay somewhere for a couple days and only interact with other tourists. Take the opportunity to become a citizen of another culture and you will not regret it! Matthew Morgan is a junior at Hofstra Univeristy (Hempstead, NY) and studied abroad with CEA in Paris, France, during the Fall 2012 Semester.
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