For a lot of students, knowing that you want to study abroad is the easy part. There’s a fire in your heart fueled by a pressing need to see as much of the world as you can. It’s choosing the right program for you that can get confusing. I kind of stumbled upon Nice by accident. Most of my friends were studying in Barcelona, and at first, I wanted to go there too. However, something was off; I just couldn’t get myself to commit.
Having never been to Europe before, I knew any place would be an amazing new experience. A lot of people went to Barcelona to study from my school, and I was nervous I wouldn’t branch out if I followed that path. One day, my soon-to-be-roommate showed me a message our university put out about a new program in Nice, France. It seemed like fate. We both just kind of knew somehow.
What I didn’t consider, however, was that because it was newer, our entire program would consist of 24 students while the other programs had hundreds. Coming from a school of over 40,000, it unnerved me a bit. I was a person who thrived in large groups and social settings. I was concerned that my fear of not branching out had led me to become stuck in an even smaller bubble. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
At orientation, though, it felt weirdly small. We all fit in one room comfortably. I looked around the room curiously, wondering who I would hang out with, slightly afraid we would get bored of each other. After a few nights of hanging out with a large group of the students, it was clear we were on the verge of something amazing.
I hung out with a large, close-knit group who shared one thing in common: an adventurous, open spirit. We did what a lot of American students in other programs didn’t; we made genuine friendships with the locals. Our closeness with each other allowed us to confidently navigate relationships with Nice natives and other international students. Before I knew it, our friend group became rich in diversity. I can personally attest to the fact that the best way to immerse yourself in another culture is to learn about it organically through close friendships.
The new, small program ended up being the best thing for me. I did more than find friends while living abroad, I found what some people never do—a family. That being said, my friends who did larger programs like Barcelona, Florence, and Budapest loved it just as much. Maybe there’s a right program for everyone, or maybe simply meeting people who share your same passion that can’t be quenched with anything less than exploration and adventures can make any program the perfect one.
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<p>I'm Brooklyn Kyrouac, a twenty year old junior who is extremely excited to go to Nice. I love to read and hang out with my friends. I'm a definite "yes" girl, and I take every opportunity that comes my way. A fun fact is that one of my thumbs is shorter than the other one.</p>