Study Abroad in France, from another perspective
e-Toile: Mariana Morales, as a student in Political Sciences at the University of Miami, you spent several weeks in France this summer. What was the theme of this working trip led by the Professor George Gonzales?
Mariana Morales: The theme of the course was global warming and European Union policy. Our goal was to learn about global warming and how does the European Union manage this global issue, being one of the leaders in this matter.
Also, visiting different institutions in Paris such as the Ministere de L’écologie, du dévelopment durable et de l’énergie where we could learn what were the policies of France specifically on this issue.
e-Toile: Why did you choose France as your destination and what did you learn during your stay?
Mariana Morales: I chose France because I’m very passionate about emerging in its culture since I’m already learning the French language.
Moreover, I wanted to learn about France’s point of view on Global warming.
My learning experience was more than I can say not only on the course subject but on French culture.
I learned about France’s goal of 20-20-20 to fight global warming and what are some policies they plan to implement to meet that goal.
Also, what an important international leader is France on renewable energy and CO2 emission reduction.
e-Toile: What was your opinion about France and about Europe upon your arrival at a time when headlines focus on the ongoing European economic crisis?
Mariana Morales: I was impressed on how well organized France, specifically Paris is.
I thought although I was in the old continent there was so much innovation and technology. A contrast of the old with the new.
The months I was there was during the high season, so I saw a lot of tourists and thought to myself how much tourism benefits France economy.
As a tourist myself I felt the tourism industry was very well in place. I also noticed France agriculture was very powerful, from flowers to fruits and vegetables everything was always fresh and of excellent quality. The only time I felt the economic crisis was when the metro workers announced a strike.
But overall I felt Spain is the most affected of the European economic crisis.
e-Toile: France and the United States consider some issues such as death penalty, global warming or energy consumption differently. Was this working trip helpful to understand other views?
Mariana Morales: I wouldn’t say this trip helped understand other views but more support my personal views that are similar to those of the European Union specially on global warming.
The only issue where this trip helped me understand other views was on the subject of nuclear energy. How France doesn’t have to depend on foreign energy and how nuclear energy plays a big part on its low CO2 emissions.
Article published on Sept. 12, 2012.