Class of 2012
Maria Copp has become a poster girl for the CGE. Her enthusiasm and unique experiences have made hers a featured story in CGE publications. After all, not many students pioneer a new program—twice.
Maria’s first trip abroad was to Nantes, France in the Spring of 2010. She was the first TU student to ever study there. She wanted to avoid more popular destinations like Paris. In smaller, less tourist-oriented cities there are fewer English speakers, and therefore, more complete immersion in the native language. Maria loved the experience and was determined to study abroad again. She took the sophisticated French skills she acquired in Nantes and traveled to Cameroon the very next year.
As a Sociology major, Maria wanted to spend time in Africa to experience the culture and learn about development and social justice in the region. “It was a truly amazing experience to enter a country I knew so little about, and to be pained to leave its culture and its language, its history and its politics, its joys and its struggles, a mere 16 weeks later,” said Maria. “I would not trade it for anything."
She also encourages other students to take the path less traveled when it comes to study abroad. Pioneering a program may be more challenging at times, but also more enriching. Maria credits her study abroad experiences with helping her become more independent and flexible, broadening her world-view, giving her a thirst for travel, fueling her appetite for learning about other cultures, improving her French, and increasing her critical thinking skills. She also believes that without her time spent in French-speaking nations, she would not have been offered a position as a French teacher through Teach for America. Maria will be spending the next two years teaching in San Antonio.