Studying Abroad, need some opinions!

rhagen

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 13, 2007
185
0
San Diego, California
I have done a lot of research and I have narrowed it down to 3 places.

Spain

France

Italy

These 3 places really interest me a great deal. Such a hard decision for me. Now, It got me thinking about South Africa and Australia. If any of you have been to these places and could tell me a little about your experience that would be great. I just want to make the best decision for me (I bet any place I choose will be a great experience.)
 

minty-freshness

macrumors member
Aug 4, 2006
64
0
France. i absolutely loved it. the whole cultural experience is like..mind blowing. where might you be going in france?
 

ravenvii

macrumors 604
Mar 17, 2004
7,584
489
Melenkurion Skyweir
It would be either Italy or France for me. Such a rich history of culture, literature and architecture/art. Not saying Spain isn't as rich in history, it is, but guess the Roman Occupacy/Absolutist Monarchy/Napoleon in France, and Roman Empire/Seat of Catholic Power/Renaissance in Italy interests me more.

Plus I just gotta pay San Marino a visit!

 

BoyBach

macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2006
3,023
2
UK
I have done a lot of research and I have narrowed it down to 3 places.

Spain

France

Italy

These 3 places really interest me a great deal. Such a hard decision for me. Now, It got me thinking about South Africa and Australia. If any of you have been to these places and could tell me a little about your experience that would be great. I just want to make the best decision for me (I bet any place I choose will be a great experience.)

What languages can you converse in? That should help with narrowing down your choice! :p


P.S. I'd vote for Italy: olives, pasta, wine, limoncello, Italian women...
 

it5five

macrumors 65816
May 31, 2006
1,219
1
New York
I suppose it depends. Will you be studying at an American university abroad (like the American University in Pais), or will you be studying abroad for a semester through your current university in the US, or will you be studying directly at a university in whatever country you go to?
 

true777

macrumors 6502a
Dec 30, 2000
659
1
California, Austria, Arkansas
Language is going to be a real issue, so I recommend going with the country the language of which you already speak, and are most interested in improving.

Housing in France can be costly, and the weather can be dreary. Spain and Italy both seem like great choices. Italy is fantastic, but Spain might be easier if you speak Spanish already. France might be the most prestigious in terms of quality of university instruction, and the most prestigious to put on a resume.

It really depends on where your priorities lie.
 

rhagen

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 13, 2007
185
0
San Diego, California
For me studying abroad is more of an experience I will want to remember for the rest of my life. The only language I can speak fluently is English. However, my Spanish is good enough for me to get by with little trouble. Would I have a really hard time going to France or Italy if I don't know the language that well.. If so I might be leaning more towards Spain.

Thanks for the replies so far.
 

jng

macrumors 65816
Apr 6, 2007
1,012
0
Germany
Any of the countries on your list would make fine choices.

Make the choice based on language and what kind of program you want to study. If you just want to party/chill for a year (like many Americans :rolleyes:) do an American or International Program like IES where you take classes with other international students in intermediate French/Spanish, etc.

I studied abroad after having only taken 4 semesters of German. But I was fully integrated in courses with German students at their University. I also lived in an apt with Germans and I left about one level shy of native fluency on the Common European Framework. I'm going back in about a month to try to attain native fluency.

I highly recommend it. It was the best year of my life, hands down. Yes, I had fun and travelled. But it was also easily the most challenging and rewarding year of my life.
 

rhagen

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 13, 2007
185
0
San Diego, California
Any of the countries on your list would make fine choices.

Make the choice based on language and what kind of program you want to study. If you just want to party/chill for a year (like many Americans :rolleyes:) do an American or International Program like IES where you take classes with other international students in intermediate French/Spanish, etc.....
Yes, I might go to Spain and gain fluency with Spanish. It will help a great deal living in San Diego as well.

However, is it possible to go to a country that you have very little of the language down. I am very interested in learning French or Italian. Should I take classes at my college to get my feet wet.
 

Stampyhead

macrumors 68020
Sep 3, 2004
2,294
30
London, UK
I did study abroad in Strasbourg (France) when I was in college and, as others have said, it was one of the best moments of my life. All our housing and food was paid through our tuition, so there weren't really any extra costs. We were housed with families in the area, which really enriched experience, at least for me. In fact, if learning the local language is one of your priorities try to get a host family that has children. Kids have a simpler language than adults do and they will totally make fun of you when you make mistakes. You won't make the same language mistake again after being mocked by a 6 year old (I know from personal experience).
Just my 2¢, but wherever you go, I'm jealous! I'd give anything to have that experience again.
 

FredAkbar

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2003
660
0
Santa Barbara, CA
My Italian teacher in college (she's from Bologna) said that Spanish-speakers can sorta get by in Italy, since the languages are so similar. I took Spanish in high school and a little Italian in college, and I can see the similarities; Italian was pretty easy for me to pick up.

I realize that they're two unique languages, I just wanted to point out that you might not be as lost (communication-wise) in Italy as you would be in France, if you don't know anything about the languages.
 

rhagen

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 13, 2007
185
0
San Diego, California
Stampyhead -
You experience is what I hope for.

FredAkbar-
Thanks that makes me feel a little better. =)

Is there students who study abroad in countries they aren't familiar with the language and have a fun experience.
 

jng

macrumors 65816
Apr 6, 2007
1,012
0
Germany
However, is it possible to go to a country that you have very little of the language down. I am very interested in learning French or Italian.
Yes, it's totally possible!

I took 4 semesters of German, all intro and basically just learned grammar. Couldn't really converse, except for, hello, my name is, i am x years old, etc.

I recommend staying for a year. I didn't notice any huge jump in my language skills until about after 6-7 months living in Germany. When I got off the plane, I had way too much luggage and couldn't carry it all. A German helped me and I couldn't even utter "Danke" to thank him.

I had 5 German housemates and up until Christmas, I just hung out with my American and International friends, conversing mostly in English. I chatted with my housemates now and then, but didn't really hang out with them - I was kind of scared of speaking to them. Anyway for various reasons, I decided to hang out with them and their friends more and my German skyrocketed.

Being in classes in German with other German students helped. But on a conversational level and in terms of gaining confidence and being able to speak, you have to live with people who speak the language natively and more importantly, hang out with them!
 

ron dj

macrumors newbie
Sep 11, 2006
24
0
I went to Ghana, West Africa.. which English is the official language of the country. There's so much to say about it, and I don't want to downplay other study abroad experiences, but I didn't go on some museum/architecture aesthetics trip, I mostly interacted with people and learned more about myself and my values and what I wanted to do with my life. It was really a beautiful experience and I couldn't imagine studying abroad anywhere else for any other reason.
 

gauchogolfer

macrumors 603
Jan 28, 2005
5,555
5
American Riviera
I spent 2006 in France on a research fellowship, and it was an amazing experience. The lab I was working in was in Sophia Antipolis, which is between Nice and Cannes on the Cote d'Azur. A simply STUNNING place to be. The people were friendlier than I expected, although some basic French skills go a long way. I took some classes at my university prior to going, which helped a ton. Of course being immersed there is the best way to gain true proficiency. My modicum of Spanish helped as well.

I would recommend France to anyone who wants to study abroad; the history, great food, people, culture, great food, wine, food, beaches, and last but not least, the food.

Let me know if you want to know more about France, I'm happy to proselytize.

Cheers.