Why did you decide to apply for an international program?
An international program is required by my university in order to obtain my specific degree in international business and marketing. However, I have had a passion for travel and international education from a young age.
Why did you choose IES Abroad Nice?
IES Abroad was the most helpful provider I came into contact with. I had a difficult time choosing a program that I wanted, and IES Abroad provided me with the support and assistance to make the best decision possible. They jumped through hoops in order for me to participate and receive an amazing scholarship. I was also very enticed by the location. The south of France is the most beautiful place, and I was so fortunate to find a program that fit so well with my academic needs, as well as my hopes for a location.
What was your favorite part about the location?
My favorite part about studying in the French Riviera was the landscape and the people. There are breathtaking landscapes all across the French Riviera and there are so many small villages with so much to offer. It was amazing to be surrounded by so much beauty and culture. The people were much nicer than I expected and helped me pick up French quickly.
What makes the IES Abroad Nice Direct Enrollment - SKEMA program unique?
This program was very unique. I was the first IES Abroad student to participate in their SKEMA: Direct Enrollment/Exchange program and it was the best decision I could have made. SKEMA is an international business school with an extraordinary exchange program. I was able to take classes on a global platform, with so many different participating perspectives, and I was able to make friends with students from across the world. Some of my best friends were from Australia, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Kazakhstan, the UK, and France.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
Our IES Abroad staff was spectacular. They quickly became more than just our abroad advisors: they became our new family in France. I had some difficult times while abroad, and the IES Abroad staff was always there for me, and willing to go out of their way to offer me support and guidance.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
If I could go back, I wouldn't be so preoccupied with traveling every weekend. I would have spent more weekends relaxing in the French Riviera, and spending time with my friends that I made through SKEMA and my IES Abroad program.
Describe a day in the life of your program.
I lived in Antibes, France so I would wake up and grab a sandwich or breakfast from the local sandwich shop next to my apartment complex. I would always greet my reception staff who were so friendly and accommodating. I would ride the bus 45 minutes to school at SKEMA, with gorgeous views of the French Alps in the distance. At school, I would hang out with my friends before classes. Each class lasted about three hours, with a break in the middle, but you only had one class a week. After class, I would go to get dinner in downtown Antibes with my friends from school, or I would get the train or bus over to downtown Nice to have dinner and go shopping with my best friends in my program. We might finish the day with some wine on the beach during sunset.
What was your favorite activity outside the normal day-to-day schedule of your program?
I loved shopping in Nice because the fashion there is spectacular. I also enjoyed trying new restaurants and types of crepes. Mostly, I just enjoyed discovering new places in the Riviera. Some days we would take the train and visit Cannes. Some days we would explore a small village down the coast. Some days we would just relax on the secluded, pebbly beaches and swim.
What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?
For the first two weeks, I lived with a host family. I really enjoyed my host family, and they taught me French and some things about the French culture. I moved afterwards in order to be closer to my school. I lived by myself in an apartment in Antibes for the duration of the program. I liked this because I was able to define my own schedule. While a part of me wishes I had had a roommate, I enjoyed living by myself because I learned so much about myself, gained new confidence, and grew as an individual.
Now that you're home, how has your program abroad impacted your life?
Studying abroad has changed my perspective on life. I am now open to learning about and understanding new cultures, and I try to view things from all possible perspectives. I have a newfound passion for travel and embracing cultures, as well as meeting new people and learning about them and their experiences. I made some of my best friends while abroad and those individuals changed my life and shaped the person I am today.
I am now more confident in myself and my ability to guide myself through the difficult parts of life. I am very optimistic for the future and I hope that studying abroad is the first of many of my adventures.
A Florida native, Ali is a junior at the University of Tampa, where she is majoring in international business and marketing. She is in the honors program, Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, American Marketing Association, and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. She loves to volunteer, travel, and eat macaroni and cheese.