Studying abroad is a unique experience that brings lots of new experiences, new friends and even a few surprises. Strasbourg, France is just one of the many unique abroad programs. A bustling European college town and center of European politics and international affairs, Strasbourg hosts over 50,000 college students each year and is home of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the Court of Human Rights. Hear from Strasbourg program alum Garth Bromfield ’20 as he reflects on the surprises he encountered along the way.
“Studying abroad always seemed like an unrealistic feat for a college student. To me, it was merely something students in movies did. I didn’t give it much thought until an ambassador came into my French class and put things into perspective for me. Suddenly, the process seemed more real and worth the extra planning, and, looking back, it was one of the best decisions I made.
I decided to travel to Strasbourg for the spring semester of 2019. Because I study French, France was always at the top of my bucket list. Frankly, I never heard much of Strasbourg and wanted to be in Paris, but after spending a semester there, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
The most surprising thing about Strasbourg is the culture and inclusion within the city. It’s large enough to never grow bored but small enough to where you feel at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love Paris and took the hour train ride from Strasbourg multiple times, but Paris never felt like a home compared to Strasbourg.
I didn’t know this before arriving, but Strasbourg is the capital of Europe. It’s home to the Council of Europe, and for good reason. It’s a great location for travelling to other countries, which was very convenient throughout my semester. Everyone traveled constantly without spending too much every time. We took trips to Amsterdam, Munich, Budapest and Milan.
It wasn’t only the city and the location that made my abroad experience surreal. It was also the people. My whole program consisted of about 40 people, so it was small and intimate. The size gave everyone the opportunity to really get to know one another well, that includes the staff at the Syracuse Centre. By February, we were already a family and constantly explore the city together when we weren’t taking trips. We helped each other make the transition into a new country and were there for each other.
Overall, I loved Strasbourg and am already planning my next trip back. I was able to experience a variety of cultures, food and people all in one city, without feeling out of place. I made life-long friends and memories. It’s easily one of my favourite college experiences, I truly can’t imagine a better trip.”
Garth Bromfield ’20, College of Arts and Sciences, Whitman School of Management