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Getting Giddy: Going Abroad

Aidan discusses his journey to going abroad, from Northfield to Paris!

Aidan discusses his journey to going abroad, from Northfield to Paris!

Recently, I have been getting pretty excited about my opportunity to study off campus this upcoming fall semester. I decided to study abroad about 6 months ago, and I don’t think it truly hit me until a couple of days ago. In just a week and a half, I will be in another country! Studying in France has been a life-long dream of mine, and now I get to pursue it. Follow along as I tell you a bit about my process to get here!

Deciding on an OCS

For me, this was the hardest part of going abroad. When first deciding the only criteria that I had was a language immersion program in France. This did not do me any good—turns out there are a lot of those! I really had to evaluate my priorities for the program. Carleton offers a very good French program in Paris during the spring term, but I was not sure I wanted to study with other Carleton students or study during our spring trimester. So I turned to non-Carleton options, and oh boy there are many. 

aidan in library post app
My friend Lily and I celebrating my application submission.

I definitely struggled to come to a decision on what fit my needs. Thankfully, my friend, housemate, and fellow French and Francophone studies major Benjamin recommended the program CUPA. It is a dedicated language immersion program that lasts a full semester. It ticked all my boxes: non-Carleton, Paris, semester-long, during the fall, and offering host families! Ultimately, this was the perfect program for me. I submitted my application to CUPA and the Off-Campus Studies office. Within the month I found out I was studying abroad!

Benjamin fun drawing
Benjamin, my recommender, at an event for our house!
Aidan fun drawing game
Me, playing the same game (whose is better?)!


Since I have been spending my summer here in Northfield, my preparations for studying abroad have looked a little different. I haven’t been able to do a lot of the shopping for luggage, flights, etc. myself due to my work schedule, so I have been needing to text my mom a lot. She appreciates the engagement, perhaps a little too much. Although, getting my Student Visa for France was a particularly long and arduous process that involved a welcomed trip back home. I definitely had to do that myself (French immigration doesn’t mess around). However, I am now legally allowed to be in France from August to January!

Aidan and his mom in Paris
My mom and I from the last time I visited Paris.

Emotionally preparing has definitely been the harder part. I am getting a little nervous about being off campus (FOMO :/ I guess). But, trying to be optimistic has definitely helped a lot. I chatted a bit with my host family, and they seem lovely, so ultimately I think I am excited. Northfield is cool and all, but I think a term in Paris will be unbeatable. Just wait until I tell you all about it when I get back, whether you want me to or not.

Aidan (he/him) is a rising Junior from Batavia, IL. He is a Religion and French and Francophone Studies double major with a Cross-Cultural Studies minor. You can often find him at the campus’s two dining halls chatting with other students while working as a student dining hall manager. He enjoys spending his time outside of class cooking and hanging out with his housemates in the Culinary Interest House and performing in Carleton’s sketch comedy group. Aidan also loves to broadcast music to the greater Northfield community on the college radio station, KRLX 88.1 FM. Meet the other bloggers!