Sophia Hendrix - 2014 Program Participant

Pont du Gard, France

CEA Excursion to Pont du Gard.

What inspired you study abroad?

After my older sister studied abroad in college I knew I needed to. I always imagined myself going abroad, so when the space in my course work allowed me to go, I had to make use of the opportunity!

Why did you choose to study in Aix-en-Provence?

I decided to go to Aix-en-Provence because of my past knowledge of French. I was between Paris and Aix, but ultimately made my decision off of city size. Paris sounded amazing, but I knew that deep down I’m not a big city person and didn’t want my abroad experience to be something I wasn’t.

What drew you to CEA Study Abroad programs?

I went with CEA because of their low costs that include so much more than other organizations. They support you from the moment you show interest. Abroad, the staff are amazing! There is always a weekly event and there are even many weekend or day trips. To not be forgotten after arrival made my experience so much more comfortable.

What was your favorite part about Aix-en-Provence?

I loved sitting at Les Deux Garcons on the Cours Mirabeau. The Cours Mirabeau is the main road in Aix, and a great place to pass a few hours and people watch. The waiters at Les Deux were always dressed nicely and enjoyed joking around with us.

Olive Trees in the South of France

Olive Trees in the South of France.

What were your housing arrangements like in Aix-en-Provence? 

I lived in an apartment with other CEA students. We were a short walk from the main road in town and located within walking distance of school. My apartment had four people in it. I loved the balconies! I enjoyed eating breakfast, reading, and talking at night on the balconies.

Would you recommend CEA’s program in Aix-en-Provence to other students? 

I would 110 percent recommend going through CEA. The support they offer before, during, and after the program is more that I ever could have asked for. For a large company, they make personal connections with the students and want every student to have the best experience possible.

If you could study abroad again, where would you go?

If I could go abroad again, I would go anywhere! But in all seriousness, I would go to Lisbon, Portugal. That was my favorite city I visited while abroad. I knew zero Portuguese, but that didn’t affect my experience. It is a kind and giving culture. Also, it was such a beautiful, historically rich city.

Saturday Flower Market in Aix-en-Provence, France

Enjoying the Saturday flower market in Aix.

When you returned home, did you experience reverse culture shock?

Coming back to the U.S. after France was much more difficult than I thought. I struggled to re-learn how to drive, shopping for groceries at large stores was very stressful, and going to restaurants and being waited on and handed a bill at the end was bizarre. I’m still surprised when I can understand all the conversations around me. It was nice being in my own world walking down the street unless I chose to listen in on a conversation.