News Release Library
May 30, 2012

Summer Semester in Angers, France: Student Submitted Blog

There’s only 60 days of summer semester for St. Edward’s University students, so it takes planning and purpose to make time for sun, fun, favorite show re-runs and … an academically challenging summer semester abroad. This summer, five faculty members and 60 students will make the most of those 60 days by working on their liberal arts education at St. Edward’s in Angers, France.

St. Edward’s University students in Angers this summer will experience a semester at the university’s partner institution, Université Catholique de l’Ouest  (UCO). At UCO, the range of classes being taught by our faculty members includes everything from a Global Entrepreneurship Capstone for graduate students, to Communications and Culture, and Presentational Speaking.

Senior Communications major Meredith Bard is taking Contemporary World Issues, a communications course with faculty member Stephanie Poole-Martinez, and her Capstone with Political Science faculty member Brian Smith. She shares with us her mental and emotional preparation for her first study abroad experience from 36,906 feet in the air:

Howdy from somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean!

I never thought studying abroad was in the cards for me. I’m a small-town South Texas girl who as a freshman at St. Edward’s thought studying in another country was a pipe dream. Fast-forward three years later and I am 36,906 feet in the air reading a screen that says my plane is scheduled to land in Paris, France, in five hours and 10 minutes!  I’m not sure it’s hit me that my dreams are actually coming into fruition.  If this is real, somebody pinch me! The time can’t tick by fast enough as I eagerly anticipate meeting up with the rest of the St. Edward’s faculty-led crew at the Paris airport. So far, traveling has been smooth, but the real test of patience is going to begin when I’m searching for the group and every sign I attempt to read is in French.  I don’t know a lick of French, and although I have Rosetta Stone packed in my carry-on, there is a high chance that my good intentions of learning basic French during the eight-hour flight will fall second fiddle to the assortment of complimentary movies available at the click of a remote.

There is a seven-hour time difference between France and Austin, so when I land, the French will be starting a new day while the majority of Americans will be tucked into bed. Needless to say, this is going to be one of the longest days of my life. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. Texas time, was chauffeured to Bush Intercontinental Airport by my mom and aunt, have been on two flights separated by a layover in Minnesota, and haven’t gotten much shuteye while in the air.  Good thing I love coffee! The tasty grounds along with the adrenaline pumping through my veins sparked by the excitement of new adventures in store for the next seven weeks are going to be my saving grace!

I’ve never been overseas, much less immersed myself in another culture. I’m thrilled to see how this journey opens my eyes to the world at my fingertips. I’ve never been afraid to take risks and am blessed with an incredible opportunity to take on my world. I can’t wait to share all the escapades of our group while studying in Angers!

You can expect more from this European traveler soon!

Meredith Bard