Name: Natacha Lafleur
Major: International Marketing
Destination: Appalachian State University from Angers University in France
Why did you choose this program?
I am an exchange student from The Angers University in France. Our school offered many partnerships but as my major is in Marketing I wanted to study in THE most well known country for it's marketing expertise and that is the US. I looked at the different options that where offered and I found out that 3 of the 5 U.S. Universities that are in partnership with Angers where offering a similar program to what I would be learning if I had stayed in France. What also influenced my wish to come to ASU was the international week this past summer where actual Appalachian students came and talked about their University and unique experiences on an American College campus. After that week I had no doubt that I wanted to go to Appalachian State.
What did you expect to get out of this experience? What did you actually get out of it?
I was curious concerning the educational practices and the way that American students are taught. We had an American teacher that taught in Angers for couple of weeks and I found his teaching methods really motivating. He seemed so accessible while also being so professional it made me want to study in the US to learn that confidence. Being here in the U.S has really helped me in developing my presentation skills. The American way of doing a presentation is much more « friendly » and I believe it keeps the audience much more engaged. What’s more, we have many discussions during classes that enables us to have everyone’s view heard, and not just the professors views as in France.
Did your time abroad give you a new perspective of yourself and your own culture/country? In what way?
Being in the U.S made me realize the competitiveness of the labor market. American students seem to have planned what their future will be since their childhood. This makes one realize that he/she should set herself goals to obtain.
How will this experience enhance your future career?
I have learned social skills that also helped me increase my inter-cultural knowledge. I have also learned different ways of working, whether it is alone or in team setting.
How did you spend your free time while abroad?
I believe being in a different country is all about learning new things and gaining experiences. To make American friends, I decided to enroll in the IPal program here on campus. Thanks to that association I created a durable friendship with an American girl. We spend time on & off campus experiencing what America has to offer. What’s more I have traveled to many cities in the South such as Savannah, Atlanta, and Miami.
What did you know about the host country? Was there anything your were wrong about? How did your understanding of the United States change after being there?
I knew the language and guessed that the culture in the U.S would be similar with Canada. As I was raised in Canada, I was pretty excited to come to the U.S.
What was the most challenging aspect of studying abroad? What was the most rewarding part?
The most challenging part of the experience was the amount of reading for each one of my MBA classes. We were instructed to read the courses even before attending them. This tip turned out to be extremely beneficial as we where able to prepare our questions before class and participate easier during the class discussions. The other challenge was to not only stay with other international but to really try and find American friends. One can imagine that while only staying a semester it might be difficult to build long-term relationships. The most rewarding part of this experience is the friendships that I have built. I was also fortunate to meet people from many different countries and learn more about their cultures.
Would you recommend studying abroad to other business students? Why or why not?
I would strongly recommend business students to study abroad and each year if possible the networking opportunities are priceless. In the past I had the opportunity to study and undergo internships abroad and I believe it’s really the best way to improve social and international skills.
If you could sum up in one or two sentences what this experience meant to you, what would you say?
This experience has shown me that sociability is an asset that helps both in management and leadership.