Discovering global cultures: Mizzou Engineering student's enriching study abroad experience in France

June 28, 2024

Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to understand diverse viewpoints and immerse themselves in new cultural experiences. Isha Deol, a senior at Mizzou Engineering, went beyond The Columns this summer for a study abroad program in France.

Her program has taken her on an exciting journey across France, including vibrant cities like Paris, Antibes, Nice, and Cannes, where she has indulged in delectable cuisine. Deol has also had once-in-a-lifetime experiences, such as witnessing the Paris 2024 Olympic Games torch in Antibes.

Deol believes studying abroad is an opportunity everyone should take advantage of. Continue reading for a Q&A to learn why and find out more about her experience.

Isha Deol
Please introduce yourself.

My name is Isha Deol and I’m a biomedical engineering senior at Mizzou. I’m involved in Alpha Omega Epsilon (AOE), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), St. Pat’s Board, and the Mizzou Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I have studied French for over 10 years and wanted to finally put my skills into use. I have completed all the courses for a French minor at Mizzou outside of my engineering degree. Participating in this program helped me become more of a global citizen and more culturally literate about French culture and language.

What study abroad program are you participating in?

I am participating in French Language and Culture in Paris and the Riveria, which is a Mizzou faculty-led program. It involves daily classes and multiple weekly excursions in the south of France and Paris.

How did Mizzou prepare you for this program?

Mizzou Engineering prepared me for this program by helping me become a more knowledgeable and analytical thinker. Being at Mizzou allowed me to be part of the international community since I have been a member of the International Student Council for two years. It also prepared me to be immersed in a culture other than my own various backgrounds.

What are you learning from your study abroad experience outside the classroom?

I am learning outside of the classroom how incredible the architecture and cuisine are in France. I think civil engineers and those involved in food science could greatly benefit from exploring what France and Europe have to offer because of the architecture and food quality here. In France, the buildings have often stood and lasted for hundreds of years rather than having to be replaced and redone routinely. The French also tend to be healthier than others around the globe. French school lunches are made with healthy ingredients by professionally trained chefs.

Going abroad can help a person understand how to improve systems in general and as an engineer by seeing which countries have perfected which systems. For example, I think France has perfected public transportation. It is quite easy to get around here and less space is taken up by multi-lane highways.

What are you enjoying about your time in France?

I am enjoying the excursions in the program where we get to explore the area more. The food scene is also quite commendable. I tried different local fresh fish from the Mediterranean Sea which were great. The boulangeries and patisseries are incredible, they supply high quality freshly made bread, sandwiches and pastries that are unmatched.

What advice would you give other students considering studying abroad?

My advice if you are considering studying abroad is to just do it. The longer you wait the harder it becomes to fit in with your schedule. It helps you develop a broader and more complete worldview. There aren’t as many engineering-specific study abroad opportunities, so look into other departments’ and institutions’ opportunities as well.

Is there anything else you would like others to know?

I truly believe studying abroad is something everyone should do. My parents are both from India, so I have visited India multiple times growing up, but that was within my family’s culture. It’s important to venture beyond what you are familiar with and to see and explore what this world has to offer. Studying abroad in college is a chance to take weeks, if not months, or a full year, to explore the world while you have the chance.

Thanks for sharing!

Choose a university with opportunities to explore the world beyond campus. Choose Mizzou Engineering!