ONSITE PERSPECTIVES IN FRANCE
The Onsite Perspectives course, colloquially known as Team France, I participated in this past January served as an introduction to on-site education abroad management and practices in the French context. This course immersed ourselves into the professional setting of education abroad in France. This immersion took many different forms (including meetings, observations, conversations, meetings, visits, and collaborative projects) with many different institutions (American university study centers, French universities, governmental institutions, student housing providers, and study abroad program advisors). This comprehensive course presented me with new insights into education abroad, the student experience, current trends, and room for future improvements in the industry.
Team France impacted me both professionally and personally. Professionally, I gained valuable knowledge about the variety of programming in education abroad and how that impacts the student experience. I will utilize this knowledge throughout my career as a way to better serve students participating in education abroad. Additionally, I gained new insights into the direction I want to take in my career path. I have confirmed my plans to enter into the education abroad field in a position that directly interacts with students in ways to encourage diversity, inclusion, and student learning of intercultural competence. Most importantly, this course highlighted the areas in which there can be improvements in the programming of education abroad so that it is more inclusive to student needs and is more effective in encouraging student development, growth, and learning.
Personally, Team France provided me with opportunities for reflection of my own intercultural competence. I learned a lot about my own knowledge and skills as well as gained new insights into how to improve. Furthermore, I am very grateful for Team France to have provided me with the chance to form deeper bonds with my classmates turned friends. I know that I will always have this strong network of friends throughout both my professional and personal lives.