I didn’t know what to expect before I came to Nice, but there were a few things I hoped would be true. For one, I hoped my university would be at an appropriate level for me. From everything I had read online, SKEMA is one of the top-ranked business schools in France. With this in mind, I was prepared for a heavy work load involving long hours of studying. However, I have found that the workload is much lighter here. During classes at SKEMA, we work on group projects during most of my classes and have engaging lectures with a lot of participation from the students. This low-stress work environment allows me to learn without worrying about having to sacrifice sleep to get the grades I want. Although the workload is lighter than at Pitt, I feel I am learning more practical skills through our numerous group projects. I am also lucky to be taking classes with students from all over the world who bring their own unique perspectives to class discussions.

From a professional standpoint, I hoped studying abroad would help me gain a competitive edge when I enter the workforce (and maybe meet some future business partners). Here are a few things that might help me stand out:

  1. I have completed projects dealing with real-world problems, with the help of marketing tools including Google Analytics and Google AdWords.
  2. I am working with people of various backgrounds and cultural differences and building relationships with them.
  3. I am learning to be more patient, adaptable, and a better communicator overall.

I expected to grow in a personal sense, and I am already growing in more ways than I could have known. Here are a few things I’m learning while in France and traveling to other countries:

  1. How to navigate a new city when Google Maps fails you (and how to stay calm when getting lost).
  2. Learning to speak up and ask for help, clarification, or directions in English and French.
  3. How to grow comfortable being alone in a new city.
  4. Being patient with people and patient when it comes to traveling and waiting for public transportation.
  5. Learning get creative with cooking, because I can’t run to Chipotle when I want a hearty meal.
  6. Structuring my time and knowing when I need a break.
  7. Getting used to a different pace of life (and learning that most people walk at about one-eighth of the speed of New Yorkers).

Studying abroad in Nice, France is allowing me to learn and grow as a person, and to fully immerse myself in the culture. I have met so many amazing people so far who are opening my eyes to new perspectives. As I have always believed, the people really make the place.