Student Experiences: Fadi

Fadi in Nice

Photo: Nice, France is on the French Riviera, a beautiful destination popular with tourists.

Why did you want to study abroad, and where did you choose to go?
I studied abroad in Nice, France and to Benin, West Africa. I always wanted to study abroad and immerse myself in a new culture, so I decided to take my first step by applying to the summer program in France. My study abroad experience in Nice was life changing and from that moment on I learned I had a passion for traveling. I studied abroad in Benin, West Africa January 2020. I choose to go to Benin because I wanted to go back to the continent that my parents were born and raised. Also, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and I wanted to challenge myself a bit more, by going to a developing country. 


Photo: Here Fadi is enjoying the beach in Nice, France.

Describe your campus and what student life was like.
The student life in France is pretty similar to the student life here in Oswego. The only difference was the dormitory-style, each student lived in a studio apartment, instead of a double room complex. However, the education system in Benin was completely different. Going to school in Benin is a privilege, many students could not afford to go to school, let alone stay in the dorms. In addition, professors rely on chalk to teach their students, and students were required to wear uniforms every day or they would not be allowed to come to class. 

Fadi in France

Photo: Fadi enjoying her time in France, exploring the city. 

Was there a language barrier? And if so, how were you able to get through it?
Going to France there was a huge language barrier! It was my first time taking a French class and it was the first time traveling alone. I downloaded Duolingo to help improve my French, and I relied on context clues to help me maneuver around the city. It was extremely difficult because I wasn't able to articulate myself the way I wanted to. However, after two weeks of being there, I was able to say a certain phrase and have short conversations with local individuals. On the other hand, when I studied abroad in Benin I did not really struggle with the language that much because most of the French classes that I took in Nice. In addition, I have been watching a few French shows on Youtube since my study abroad experience in France.

Fadi on beach

What did you find most challenging throughout your experience?
The most challenging part was the language barrier when I studied abroad in France. However, in Benin, I was having trouble getting out of my comfort zone and learning how to be more open-minded to different cultural traditions and values. And understanding not everyone has the same cultural beliefs. 

Fadi in Benin

Photo: Fadi during the Faculty-led Course to Benin, West Africa. 

Overall, how was your experience? And do you have any tips for future students who may be interested in traveling to the same place as you?
My experience abroad was life-changing! I plan on studying abroad again for a third time! And honestly, my advice would be to "Just Go For It", you never know unless you try! Save your money and just travel, life is to short to not explore the world that was given to us!