David Cawton always had that knack of traveling and exploring cultures abroad. He studied two years ago in Italy, Greece and Turkey. This time, he’s flying over to France for another round of study abroad adventure!
Let’s get to know David better:
1. What made you choose Paris as your study abroad destination?
I am going to Paris for two reasons. The first is because I need to finish my foreign language credits. The best place to learn a new language is the country of origin! I can go to Paris for a month, receive six credit hours and actually use the language I’m learning in everyday situations. The second reason is just for the experience. This is the last time for a while that I will have an opportunity to travel and it mean something. Paris is a unique place, due to it’s relation to the rest of France. Like all major capitals, Paris has been called a foreign city in a French country. It’s very diverse and is a snap shot of contemporary Europe.
2. What are you looking forward to most about this experience?
I’m looking forward to using the language the way it’s intended. Not just out of a textbook. In Florida, everybody for the most part takes Spanish because it’s easy to use it here. I am sort of at a disadvantage because no one here speaks French. So it’s going to be very cool to actually learn the language while I’m in school to use afterwards.
3. What preparations are you making for this trip?
At this point I’m making the effort to get the finances in order. I really don’t want to take a student loan out for this trip, hence the reason I’ve signed up for Fundmytravel. I am also doing some research on Paris, because it’s a very different place than Jacksonville. I’ve been to other countries in Europe so I do have an idea of what to expect, but every situation is different. One thing I think a lot of students forget to do is research the current affairs, both politically and publicly. I want to blend in as much as I can into the culture and in order to do that, I have to be up to date with a working knowledge of what Parisians are going through. That’s part of the deal: you can’t just go on a study abroad just to party for a month, there has to be a cultural and academic focus.
4. What do you think are the benefits of studying abroad?
Honestly, I could write a whole paper, thesis and dissertation on the subject from the last study abroad I took part in. There really are no downsides if you don’t mind living within your means. I’ve always been a fan of learning, so study abroad just becomes a new avenue to learn. The main reason a study abroad is different from just learning about culture or humanities or language in a classroom is, your there. It’s a physical experience. I got to actually walk around the coliseum in Rome, and had an opportunity to see where St. John was exiled to in Patmos. Study abroad places you in the areas you want to be in, without taking the regular tourist route. It’s also something that my institution can be proud of. I can’t stress enough the importance of doing this in school and would recommend a trip for every college kid.
David is a senior Communications student at Jacksonville University. In the past, he has interned at a CBS affiliate in Jacksonville, working in the newsroom and the sports department. He’s currently the Media Representative for AAA Auto Club Group.