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A Semester Abroad

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Bonjour!

If you had the chance to follow my blog posts last year, welcome back! If it's your first time, it is very nice to meet you. My name is Courtney Carufel and I am a senior this fall at the Carlson School of Management. It's great to be back at school again but for me this fall semester is a little extra special because right now I'm in Montpellier, France and I will be until this December!

I am here in France because Carlson has such a unique aspect to its undergraduate degree: its international requirement. This means every student has the opportunity to experience a different part of the world either through a short-term program that lasts only a few weeks to one like mine that lasts a semester or even a year. I think this broad view of the world is essential for all students but especially those in business. There is truly no class or film that can give you an experience like actually traveling to a part of the world different from your own.

There are many business specific programs that Carlson offers (check out the programs here) but I'm actually on a program sponsored by the Learning Abroad Center (check out their programs here) because I am majoring in both French and Marketing. Thus, this semester I am taking classes to finish my French major at a university in Montpellier with French students.

It's been an exciting first couple of weeks here in Montpellier. I had the chance to visit France once before on a short trip with my high school class, but it's really different compared to a long-term study program. I'm living with a host family in Casteneau (a suburb of the city) and I've managed to navigate the public transit system, register for classes, order in French, and of course plan some trips around Europe during my school breaks. There are things that certainly make me appreciate how things work in the United States, but there are also things that make me wish home was a little more like France. For instance, here dinner is something to be truly celebrated and shared, thus it usually lasts for around two hours while the family shares about their days and has time to be together (and of course the food is incredible).

Throughout the semester I'll continue to update you with little tidbits about my study abroad experience. I can't wait to share it with you! If you find you have some questions along the way about the study abroad experience feel free to contact me by email at caru0052@umn.edu.

Here's a picture of me at the Pont du Gard (an old Roman aqueduct) and there will certainly be more pictures to come.

Au revoir for now!

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