Meet Carolina!

Everyone, meet world traveler Carolina Avila! This Creole babe is off in Paris! Learn more about Carolina and her amazing travels below! 

Name: Carolina Avila

Age: 20

Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana

Major/Minor: International Business, French minor

Organizations:

LULAC

 LSLO

America I Will

Year: Class of 2019

Where are you studying: Paris, France

What classes are you taking abroad:

Managerial Accounting

French III

Managing Cultural Differences

International Business

Why did you want to study abroad : I’ve been dreaming about studying abroad since I was about 13 years old. In hindsight, it’s what drove me to come to St. Edward’s. St. Ed's believes in a global education and that’s what I wanted. I also thought that I would grow as a person and I really wanted that.

What made you choose France: I have always had a fascination with the French language; I’ve been studying it since I was in 6th grade. Therefore, I’ve always wanted to become really good at it. I had also been to Paris once before and I instantly fell in love with the city. So, when I was choosing where to go, France was absolutely perfect. It had the language I wanted to perfect and the city that I adored.

Were you nervous to study abroad: I was so nervous!!! When the time was nearing, I wanted to back out so many times. I was freaking out about friends, my host family, classes, and the language. I didn't want to come here and make a complete fool out of myself. When I got on the plane, I had so many butterflies in my stomach. But it was all worth it.

How are your classes abroad different from the your classes in the states: The way school is set up is very different from the US. Here, I have a 3-hour class once a week. So, it’s a little difficult for me because I have to wake up at 8:30 am 3 days a week. That gives me so some trouble concentrating in class. On the other hand, I feel like I’m able to grasp the material more. So, I guess it’s a mixture of both. I’m doing well but concentrating is hard.

What has been the most difficult part about studying abroad : THE FOOD. Okay so Paris is one of the gastronomic capitals of the world, but I hardcore miss TexMex food. This is the longest I’ve gone without tacos. Plus, there’s no Hot Cheetos or any type of spicy food. So, I can’t wait to go come back and eat some good spicy food.

What is your favorite part about studying abroad: My favorite part is being surrounded by so many different people. I always meet someone from a different country or who speaks a different language. It’s so interesting. Also, it’s nice to be able to just take a weekend trip if I so desire.

Where do you plan to travel during your time abroad: I’ve already begun to travel and I’ve been to Nice, France, Monte Carlo, Monaco, and Brussels, Belgium. I am going to Cork, Ireland in a few weeks to go see my friend. I really hope to go to Amsterdam, London, and Madrid.

What do you think you’ll miss the most about studying abroad: I think I’m definitely going to miss being able to walk around. Although Paris is a big city, you can always walk and find a cute little spot. There are so many hidden treasures. It’s definitely been one of my favorite parts.

What do you miss the most about St. Ed’s and Austin: I miss my friends. I do have friends that are also abroad but we’re all in different cities and can’t see each other frequently. From Austin, I really miss the Mexican food. There’s literally no spicy food and it’s been very hard without it.

Advice time!

What major piece of advice would you give a student who is thinking about studying abroad: DO IT!!!! Studying abroad has been the most challenging, yet most rewarding experience. I know that it might seem super scary but it makes you grow as a person and helps you experience new cultures. It’s so amazing. Don’t be afraid to take that leap!

What somethings should a student who is studying abroad make sure they bring with them abroad:

1. Your phone: although it’s very obvious, it’s the device I’ve used to take really cool pictures.

2. Bring a portable charger: When you’re out and exploring, your phone is going to die quickly because of all the fun you’re having!

3. If you’re going to cold country, bring gloves!!

4. Make sure to bring a small purse that won’t become too heavy and that you can travel with!

5. Bring an open mind. Studying abroad opens you up to new culture and new norms and it can be hard to understand it all at once. Just be open about it and it’ll make the experience even that much better.

What are somethings should they leave at home:

1. Too many shoes: I brought waaaay too many shoes and now I’ve worn like 4 pairs and it’s going to be so hard to bring them back.

2. Don’t bring sheets and linens: The dorm or your homestay will definitely have some for you. Even if you’re staying in an apartment, it’ll be easier to buy them here. It also wont’ take up space in your suitcase.

3. I love reading books and I brought a couple of them abroad. That was a mistake. I’ve opened up one of them once. If you do plan on bringing books, bring it via Kindle or something similar.

4. Don’t bring bottles of shampoo/conditioner. Bring travel sizes that way you can use them until you get settled and can go out and find some!

Do you have any tips on how to get over homesickness: Honestly, I haven’t experienced a lot of homesickness. But if you are, make sure to go out and find some food from home! For example, I really missed Tex-Mex and I found a Mexican restaurant here! It cured my homesickness. So, make sure to go find food places cause it’ll be like you never left home.

How do you budget while you’re abroad: It’s really really hard to budget abroad because you want to do and see everything. But, it would be a great idea to sit down and figure how much money you can spend a week. I think that’s really good because you don’t limit your spending into specific categories, but you’re still on track.

How easy is it to adjust to a whole new culture: For me, it was pretty simple. France is not that different from the US. There are some things that have confused me, like the fact that 90% of stores are closed on Sundays. But overall, it hasn't been that hard.

What is the one thing that you should take away from the whole experience: Although it’s hard, being independent is so exciting. It’s so scary to be away from everything you know, but becoming independent is empowering. You get to learn so much about yourself on a global stage.

We are SO jealous of your Parisian adventures! We cannot wait to hear more of your stories when you are back on the Hilltop!