Erin Jeffries on International Exchange to France: “More Valuable than Words can Describe”

An international exchange was an opportunity for growth Erin Jeffries couldn’t pass up.

The fourth-year student from Fredericton, NB, is two months into a semester-long exchange in Angers, France, and said the experience has brought her one step closer to being the person and academic she wants to be.

“I knew it would be a challenge, but I also knew I'd come back a bigger person with more life experiences,” she said.

“I've met wonderful people, explored beautiful places, and overcome many challenges that have forced me to grow. Coming here made me realize I want to be more authentic and experience more, and that's exactly what I've done.”

Being fully immersed in French culture has been beneficial for Jeffries, who is studying French and Spanish. Her classes at Ircom—a small private school in Angers—have a European focus which is different for Jeffries, but the change has been good.

“The people are incredibly kind, and the classes are quite interesting,” she said. “My classes are different from what I'm used to, and the material is so new because I have no European context to my life, but it's very interesting and I'm enjoying the change.”

Jeffries has also been able to gain valuable experience outside of the classroom. She’s traveled to Paris, Niort, Saintes, and Bordeaux, as well as Madrid and Burgos.

The best part of this experience, though, has been in the relationships she’s formed.

“I've made new friends and strengthened the relationships I had before. Being here has really forced me to be more authentic in my relationships, and that's proven to be a real blessing,” she said.

“This experience is more valuable than words can describe. Every part of it makes me proud of myself and how far I've come.”

Considering an international exchange? Browse your opportunities here.