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Student Spotlight

Hunter Orloff
France Year 2011-12
Art History major
hunterorloff@gmail.com

"I arrived in Paris with no French and little real-world experience, and I left 12 months later making a living doing phone sales in French."

"The network I developed in Europe while studying abroad allowed me to make plans to go back, learn a new language, and enroll in a masters program in Berlin. I want to get a masters in International Business and work for a transnational company in Europe where I can use all my languages on a daily basis."

"Meet new people, make local contacts, talk to people on trains. I got a job that allowed me to stay in Paris for 3 months after the end of my IOP program because I made friends with the guy who would become my boss on a train from Paris to Barcelona."

Why did you choose your particular study abroad program/location?
I was never one of those people that has always had a dream to go to France and live in Paris, I just wanted to study abroad for a year in a country where I could learn a new language. I ended up taking French 1 at UCI because it seemed the most useful besides Spanish. EAP didn't offer the length of time I wanted in the city I wanted, so I went with an IOP program and had a great time.
 
What types of activities were you involved in while abroad that were meaningful for your learning?
I lived in a homestay in Paris, which was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I still keep in contact with my host mom. I lived with her for the duration of the 9 months I was in Paris, and she really helped me to improve my French. We became quite close and we still talk on the phone pretty regularly. I really felt like it helped me to assimilate into Parisian culture because after a few months I felt like i was staying with my family in my home city.

The best travelling experiences came from my European friends I met at the French university. I spent 2 weeks in Italy with my friends from Milan. I travelled to Madrid at least 5 times to go hang out with my Spanish friends. Berlin became like my second home in Europe because of the awesome people I visited there. Travel in Europe is so easy and cheap. Even though I was living in Paris, I visited my friends in Milan, Madrid, and Berlin so often they all feel like home to me.

My Program only lasted 9 months, but I stayed in Paris for the following summer. I got a job fielding sales calls at an English tutoring school. I was able to make money and support myself in Paris for the first time in my life. I arrived in Paris with no French and little real-world experience, I left 12 months later making a living doing phone sales in French. 
 
How have you changed or what have you learned due to studying abroad?
A lot of people become someone else when they move to a new city, but I became more of myself. I stopped pretending to be something I wasn't, and I met some of my best friends in Europe as a result. Working in Paris while studying and then supporting myself later really made me see that we can do anything we want if we work for it. 
 
What are you doing now as a result of studying abroad?
I hated leaving Europe, so I'm going back right after graduation. Even though I don't really want to live in Paris again, my extensive network of friends and contacts all over Europe gave me the support I needed to plan to move to Germany next year for a masters program. I'm not done travelling and learning languages and cultures, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna take a year off. The network I developed in Europe while studying abroad allowed me to make plans to go back, learn a new language, and enroll in a masters program in Berlin. I want to get a masters in International Business and work for a transnational company in Europe where I can use all my languages on a daily basis. 
 
What advice would you give to a student considering studying abroad?
Go. Do it. Stay as long as possible and then fight to stay longer. The harder you push yourself to practice your new language, make local friends, get local jobs, and interact with the culture, the more fun you have. I had a very rewarding abroad experience because of the European friends I made in Paris that allowed me to develop contacts all over Europe.

Meet new people, make local contacts, talk to people on trains. I got a job that allowed me to stay in Paris for 3 months after the end of my IOP program because I made friends with the guy who would become my boss on a train from Paris to Barcelona.  

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