Meet Jake Longero, a recent addition to our growing team of student assistants in the University Relations department here in the USAC central office. Here’s Jake’s rundown of Q&As to get to know him and his experience studying abroad through USAC on the Lyon, France program — for a full YEAR!
Jake Longero, Lyon, France Yearlong 2015-2016.
Why did you choose the study abroad program that you did?
In middle school I was placed into a French class because there was no availability in any of the Spanish classes. I stuck with it because I had some great teachers in middle school and in high school. I wanted to go to France and my high school French teacher studied abroad, with USAC, in Pau when he was in college and my French professor freshman year of college lived in Lyon for three years. So I was able to discuss each city with them and eventually picked Lyon because I thought it fit better with what I wanted to experience while abroad.
Tell us about your favorite experience when studying abroad.
You grow very close to people who you travel with, even if you just recently met them. My favorite experience during my time studying abroad was our first field study in Marseille, where our program began. It was a jam packed, hot and humid four days that I’ll never forget. I met my best friend during this trip, had an unforgettable time, and made some great, lasting friendships in a beautiful city.
What were some of the special and/or unique things you were able to do or see?
During our Winter Break I traveled to Iceland and went on an expedition hunting for the Northern Lights. Before stopping in Iceland I was in Scotland and traveled to Loch Ness where I went out on a boat searching for the Loch Ness Monster.
Editor’s note: I like how he left us hanging, did you SEE the Loch Ness Monster?!
What was a made-me-LOL-IRL cultural experience you had?
My first day in Lyon was a Saturday and I was very tired so I decided to catch up on some sleep and told myself that the next day I would go shopping for things I needed for my apartment and groceries. I woke up Sunday morning and quickly realized that all the markets and stores were closed all day every day on Sundays. So I went for a long walk and finally came across a McDonalds, walked in, and saw other USAC students in there eating who also were not aware that most things are closed on Sundays in France.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I am able to be much more independent than I had previously thought.
What’s one thing you would have done differently?
I would have appreciated the friendships I made while abroad a whole lot more. I met some truly incredible people and I’ll forever be grateful for that.
Now that you’re home, how do you see the impact of study abroad on your life?
I was able to experience the French culture for a year, a culture I had been studying since middle school. I realized while being so far out of my comfort zone that people can do things differently and still come out with the same result, that there are multiple ways of doing the same thing. I’m now comfortable with being uncomfortable.
What, in your opinion, are the biggest myths students believe about studying abroad?
Cost and safety. The program was very fairly priced and there are infinite amounts of scholarships available for studying abroad. Also, the entire time I was abroad I felt safe and in control.
What advice would you tell students trying to decide whether or not to study abroad?
To not look back. There’s not a single thing about my entire study abroad experience that I regret. I think about it everyday and wish I could go back.
Favorite TV show growing up?
Parks and Rec
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Where would you like to go on your next vacation?
It’s between Norway, Denmark, Japan, South Africa, or Australia.