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Students Comments

Read how lives of Missouri Southern State University students were influenced and changed during their experiences at the International Media Seminars held in Paris, France.
Spring 2004Spring 2000

Spring, 2004

“My most memorable experience in Paris aside from all the landmarks and the scenery was probably just walking along the streets. A couple of times I went out alone to do things, just walking down the streets or even taking the Metro. It’s amazing to just blend into their culture and their way of life. I just got this feeling that the world wasn’t such a big and bad place. I mean here I am from a small town in Oklahoma and I’m walking the streets of Paris alone. It was an amazing and tremendous feeling. I believe that I did gain some self-confidence from it. The world doesn’t seem so intimidating and huge to me anymore.”

— Matthew Mahurin

 International Media Seminar

“My trip to Paris was probably one of the best things that has ever happened to be. It was very enlightening to experience how people live in that country, even though it was only for a week. I discovered many things about myself, but one thing really stands out in my mind. I realized that I have been keeping myself from doing new things because of fear. I was afraid to take a step in a direction with uncertain consequences. When I went on this trip, I stepped out of my comfort zone. This experience has made me want to broaden my horizons and travel more. I am already planning to go on a trip to Europe next summer.”

— Lyndsey Shaffar

Hotel Malar, Paris, France

“This trip has done so much for me. I made a whole new group of friends whom I will never forget, but more than that it gave me a little direction for what I want to do with myself. I always had the aspiration to be in the media business, but I never really considered what type of media. This trip opened my eyes to a whole new world of media. That is why I plan to revisit Paris and eventually live there and set up a career overseas.”

“I now know that there is a whole world out there that is full of opportunity and I know that the only way to find out what these opportunities are is to get myself out there and experience them. Life in itself is an experience, but if you stay in just one spot you are not experiencing yourself to the fullest.”

— Wayne Buck

International Media Seminar, Paris, France

“I have been fortunate enough to have traveled abroad even prior to my experience in France. However, I have never gotten a glimpse of the world comparable to the one I saw through a Parisian lens. Honestly, I had never had a noteworthy interest in France as a country, nor had I been intrigued by the French culture. Although within moments of arriving in Paris, my lackadaisical preconceptions were anything but steadfast. My thoughts of indifference were relinquished to a country rooted in an ambiance full of beautiful culture. Within that beautiful culture, the landscape was splashed with museums housing some of the world’s most beloved artwork, boulevards offering delicate cafes, meeting places, shops sure to please any passerby, fountains offering a soothing sound to the noise of the day’s work, and street performers pursuing a smile and without apprehension, a few Euros.”

“There is, however, an equally intriguing aspect of my time in Paris that is comprised of artistic, emotional, intellectual and political stimuli. Familiarizing myself with the thought process of the French helped to open many doors in concerns with my personal philosophy of life. Artistically speaking, I noticed the value of art in Parisian society — one of which sadly supercedes that of American thought — to be more than gazing upon the art itself, but rather to allow the idea of the art to flow into the atmosphere of the city. Emotionally, the city allows every friend to befriend as he wishes, every lover to love without apprehension, and allows the family to connect more intimately with each member. Often I feel as if in American society these ideals are oppressed by lack of time, lack of interest, and fear of societal expectations. Intellectually, the Parisian viewpoints are much more liberating than those of many Americans. I feel as if France fosters — from a young age — the ideas of self expression and motivation, and promotes the awareness of creativity and respect for other’s personal expressions. Lastly, and debatably most important, I feel as if France has cultivated a wonderful political though process. France is certainly a more global-thinking country in comparison with the United States. The idea of a global village is an aspect of French culture that I diagnose the United States in much need of.”

— Aaron Duff

International Media Seminar

“Probably what I enjoyed most about Paris and France was the intellectualism that exists there. People sit in cafes and discuss politics and philosophy for hours. Instead of getting embarrassingly drunk and slobbering all over each other in a bar, they enjoy a beer and have good conversation. It did improve my self-confidence knowing that places do exist in the world where I don’t have to be fake and talk about things that don’t matter. I believe that much of that intellectualism spills over into the type of government France has. Obviously, the education system there works incredibly well.”

— Allison Rosewicz

International Media Seminar

“This experience was more than I could have imagined. The sites were more beautiful than the pictures, and to be submerged into a culture like that is such an incredible feeling. By the end of the week, I did not want to leave. I had learned how to use the Metro, learned the basics of typical French phrases, and even come to enjoy the typical lunch, a baguette with cheese. (I have even gone to St. Louis Bread Company twice already and ordered just that.)”

“The week was filled with lots of interesting speakers about a variety of topics relating to communications. Each was different in its own way, yet had the same basic ideas. I had a good amount of questions, and was pleased that they could be answered. I was able to get contact information from a few of the speakers for possible internships and/or future careers. I was also very impressed with the kindness of our hosts; they were more than happy to help us in any way that they could, and went out of their way to try to feed us at least once a day.”

— Melissa Husby

“Now that I’m back in classes at Missouri Southern, I have noticed a change in my attitude — I am more eager than ever to graduate and live in another place. I’d love to spend more time in France, and writing about it today makes me even more anxious to see it again. On a broader scale, I think that my study abroad experience will change the way I look at my classes by giving me a more informed and experienced world view. Having traveled outside the U.S., I have become more interested in news, culture, and art from other parts of the world. When any of these topics come up in class, I feel more qualified to discuss them because of my overseas experience.”

— Krystal Fleshman

Spring, 2000

“From the moment I stepped off the plane in Paris, a whole new education started. …I have to say my favorite speaker was William Pfaff. He managed to touch my chord for writing. I have always wanted to write on the side, but never put much more thought into it. Mr. Pfaff was full of so much knowledge and insight into foreign affairs. I would love to do what he has been doing for so many years.

Carol Brazeale“The dinner that Lee and Berna Huebner so graciously gave at their home for the students attending the seminar was beyond any expectations I had. The company that I was in was amazing. This was the students’ chance to get to know the guest speakers better and have discussions with them about their careers. Each one that I talked with gave me much helpful advice about how to achieve my goals in life and career.

“Not only was the seminar such a learning experience, but touring Paris and interacting with the French people was as well. I think I visited all the high points, but I did not get to do everything I wanted. This only means that I will have to return, soon.

“I was asked by my professor and peers what was the one most important thing I learned while in Paris. I couldn’t answer then because I was still in awe of even being there, but I can answer that now. I learned things about myself that I never knew before. I learned that it is never too late to learn something new. I learned a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘It’s a small world after all.’ I learned that we are all people, whatever country we might be from. Most importantly, I now consider myself a world citizen, not just a U.S. citizen.”

— Carol Brazeale, 34, Missouri Southern State College

Matt Madura

“I wanted to become a Parisian by the second day in Paris. Being American, I stood out like a sore thumb. Everyone there dressed so classy, at least our age group. You did not see people wearing blue jeans, tennis shoes, ball caps, or even anything we as Americans would call casual. This was an eye-opener for me. I wanted to blend in with the locals, and I did try as hard as I could to look the way they did. I also made a valiant attempt to communicate with the people I came into contact with. I found out that if you try to speak their native tongue, they in turn will try to help you or understand you.

“Every step I took in Paris was a new and exciting adventure. The sounds, the texture, the light, the smell, and the tastes were all so unique and different in a way that can only be described in their presence. Another important lesson I learned is Americans are not the only people in this world. I feel, as an American, that we have an isolationist view of the world, and we should really open our eyes on a more global spectrum.”

— Matt Madura, 22, Missouri Southern State College

Mark Shryock

“Seeing the Eiffel Tower’s beautiful white lights dancing all over the tower, we all stopped and stood like little kids, mouths open in awe, starring at the wonder and magic of Paris that no words can ever express. And even now as I write this, I know I cannot really tell you what it is to go to Paris, what it was like to be there. And yet because it is so wonderful I know I will try vainly to tell others of Paris and its beauty for the rest of my life.

“After we arrived at the hotel, several students and I took a walk to explore the immediate surroundings. Looking back at this, I have to laugh because at first we were scared to death to stray two feet from the group for fear that we would be lost forever in a strange, hostile land. By the time I would leave Paris a week later, I was walking the deserted streets at 3 a.m., alone under the moonlight, and when time allowed, taking the Metro to various places far from the Hotel Malar unafraid and alone. There is a kind of rush of adrenaline that goes with this independence, and I would encourage anyone who goes to Paris to somehow spend time away from the group.

“My most profound memory of Paris was on my second day when I had broken away from the group and gone shopping at the Galeries Lafayette, a shopping mall two blocks long and six stories high. I was going up the escalator and this fast-beat French music was playing while beautiful women, who are beautiful in only the way Parisian woman are, were passing by me on the down escalator. It was at the moment, with the music, sights, and sounds, that I knew I really was in Paris.

“Dinner at the Huebners’ was fantastic. The highlight of the dinner for me was not their beautiful penthouse, delicious food, or glamorous fanfare, but instead was meeting Flora Lewis, the sage journalist. Few people I have met in my life seem so completely fused with their vocation that there is no separating the person from it. Flora Lewis is perhaps one of the last old-school journalists whose entire being and spirituality is merged into the focal lens of one who sees the world through the eyes of journalistic integrity and an absolute faith that good and moral journalism will always prevail and get the story. I found her simplistic outlook on journalism remarkable.”

— Mark Shryock, 41, Missouri Southern State College