This blog has been created to share the College of Staten Island (CSI) students’ experiences around the world. Dolphins across the Seven Seas provides the opportunity for CSI students, staff, faculty and beyond to gain insight into the study abroad experience. Additionally, Study Abroad Peer Advisors provide reflections upon their experiences as well as advice to potential study abroad participants. CSI is the single senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY), located in the borough of Staten Island.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bienvenue à Nice! ~Frank Forte, CSI Exchange Ambassador to France

When you first arrive in a new country as an exchange ambassador it is a little nerve racking. You have to find temporary living accommodations, learn your way around a new city, learn your bearings (like where the school is), and then you have to find a permanent residence. All this takes place within one to two weeks, and it feels very fast. In my experience the international coordinators at IPAG made this process very easy for me. They found me a small studio within two days, and I didn’t have to stress about anything.
I’ve made a ton of new friends from all over the U.S. and the rest of the world as well. I’ve made some good friends with Spanish, German, Austrian, Polish, Brazilian, Finnish, Dutch, and of course French students. The classes are also very interesting, and they involve a lot more active learning and group discussions. So far I’ve traveled a little of southern France, and I’ve seen Barcelona. I am going to the Netherlands and already plan on visiting Italy multiple times before I depart. It is great being in central Europe because it is fairly cheap to travel around the rest of Europe. 
Nice is an amazing city. There is the very old district with classical features and authentic food but there is also a very new and modern part of the city as well, and both aspects intersect each other. The beach is beautiful, but it is all smooth rocks with no sand; the Mediterranean water is always warm. Right next to the beach is a hill called Castle Hill that used to have a large citadel at the top before it was destroyed;  there are amazing views from the top. Behind that is a hill called Cimiez, which has some ancient Roman ruins at the top. If you enjoy history, Nice is definitely rich with it.
I recommend to any student who is looking to study abroad to consider France. IPAG is a great school for business students, the people are friendly, there is great food and wine, and there is awesome night life for young college students.
I just want to thank Renee Cassidy and the rest of the staff of the Center for International Service at CSI and Professor Zimmerman for this great opportunity they’ve given to me. And to all students who read this -  if you study abroad, whether in France or any other country, you will gain great life experience and learn many things that you never even knew were out in the world. CSI has great programs, so take advantage of them and don’t let life pass you by; you are only young once.