Adam Byrnes

Adam Byrnes

What were your major(s) at UCCS?

"I majored in Business Administration and minored in French."

What was your favorite moment on your education abroad program and why?⁠

"One of my favorite memories abroad was being able to Les Alycamps, one of the oldest necropolis in the world in Arles, France. There were building structures that dated back thousands of years still standing. To be in the same area that Van Gogh and Paul Gaugin took major influence from when painting was one of the best moments for me abroad."

Why did you choose to go abroad?

"I wanted to go abroad to improve my French and study the culture and art. My French Professor, Suzanne Cook, grew up in Southern France and was a major influence to me going abroad. She showed our class cultural differences in French speaking countries and regions of France that helped me identify why I wanted to go abroad. I wanted to be immersed in the language and better understand the lifestyle and culture. Having been exposed to the programs at UCCS, I knew we had great programs abroad that would allow me to get the course credit I need while studying at a location I was passionate about."

What is one thing going abroad taught you – academically, personally, culturally, or in some other way?

"One thing going abroad taught me was how important it is to be open to new things. Some of my greatest memories and friendships came from going abroad because I was put in a situation where I only had the people around me to interact with. I was somewhere where my friends and family were not. It was scary, especially with a language barrier, but I tried new things and put myself out there. I spoke to people in French as much as possible, and made friendships in France that I still reach out to this day. This mindset has been beneficial to me in my career and personal life, as I'm open to new perspectives and challenges to help grow as a person. I learned how to manage this when I went abroad and am forever grateful for that."

How did going abroad contribute to your UCCS education?

"Going abroad helped with my time management skills and dramatically improved my engagement in French. Being abroad, you're managing many expectations between coursework (just because you're abroad doesn't mean you're not in school!), leveraging your new network, and trying to enjoy the local sites and travel. The time management skills helped when coming back to the states as I balanced my coursework, working, as well as job hunting as I entered my last semester of college." 

How did going abroad at UCCS shape your career aspirations and employability?

"I mentioned being open to new perspectives as something I learned while going abroad. This ties greatly into my career and my overall aspirations because I ended up moving to somewhere new and unknown for my career. I moved to Chicago after graduating despite not having any family or friends there. However, I knew I would be okay because I know it's possible to adapt, it just takes time. This mindset helped me settle into Chicago and overall be open to trying new things in my career. Going abroad is a major factor in my success and growth mindset to trying new things."

What tips do you have on going abroad for current UCCS students?

"Document your spending, because money goes fast. Between getting coffee at a cafe, going to boulangeries, and traveling, expenses rack up quickly. I realized this my first week abroad and started to physically write what I was doing and the amount of money I would be spending. This helped me allocate my finances properly and be able to enjoy France while not breaking my bank. 

On the topic of money, take advantage of scholarships! I received a scholarship from the UCCS Department of Languages and Cultures to study abroad which helped greatly in the overall cost. I didn't even think I would get the scholarship, but I'm so grateful I submitted the application anyway. Connect with the Financial Aid office and do research on what scholarships are available. Treat the applications like you are applying for a job, and apply for as many as possible. Scholarships and financial aid can help greatly when being abroad.

Another tip: Do research on where you would like to go when abroad before going. If you plan to travel, look at viable ways to get to cities or countries you are interested in visiting. See what the prices for hotels or hostels are, how much it costs to travel, and if you plan to visit specific sites, look at the price of admission. While you can fly, there are many affordable options to travel, such as trains or busses across Europe. I'm a huge advocate for the trains in Europe as student discounts were helpful in getting affordable tickets to travel (and the trains go fast!)."


Why do you think it’s important to go abroad as a UCCS student?

"Studying abroad allows you to immerse yourself in a new culture and learn from institutions and faculty you would not experience in the United States. Experiencing the different lifestyles and cultures of a different country allow you to grow your social and critical thinking skills. These are cross-functional skills that can support you in your educational, career, and personal functions. Going abroad helped me understand how to better communicate with people and learn to take on new opportunities, even if they seemed scary at first. This thinking has helped me grow in my career and has set me up for success, and I know studying abroad helped me with getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. I am forever grateful for the experience and memories I had abroad."


Images from Adam's time abroad