Student Spotlight (& Advice): Bijou Coulibaly

Bijou Coulibaly

Picture3 France is a beautiful place, I am glad to have been raised and educated there. But when people think of France, they usually think of Paris, or stereotypes of the cold, rude, and distant Parisian. However, just like America, France is quite big and diverse.

I was raised in Montpellier, South of France. Located on the south coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, it is the third-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast after Marseille and Nice. People in Montpellier tend to be very outdoorsy because, let’s be serious, if you live in the most beautiful Area of France, why would you want to spend time inside?

Another great thing about Montpellier is that it is really close to Spain, like we are good neighbors. So it will only take you a few hours by TGV train ride to get to Spain. Words can’t express how much I love Montpellier. But I am a big traveler, for my mother is from Morocco and my father from West Africa/Mali. I had been to both places and to other places in Africa like South Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Burkina-Faso.


I’ve also been to a lot of places in Europe like Spain (our cool neighbors), Rome, London, Paris (now I’m laughing), Switzerland, Monaco (so far my favorite), Amsterdam, and Berlin. Most people like me who have a diverse background due to both parents, who are from different countries and tend to travel a lot, but I think that being raised in a place like Montpellier also has something to do with it, because in Europe places are so close to one another that most people tend to travel to different countries taking the TGV almost every other weekend.

I would encourage CBU students to enjoy this experience, because traveling has done so much for me. It helps you know or discover different people, and trust me when I say this: you will be amazed by how people are different in both good and awkward ways. For instance: Moroccans would be really offended if you walked into their living room with your shoes on, and a Spaniard would feel insulted if you asked them do any task during Siesta time. And, of course, a typical person from Montpellier (myself) will be disappointed if you have no diverse background and have no interest in traveling around the world. So travel, explore the world, and come back here and let me know how it went! — Bijou Coulibaly (Business Administration ’16)

Stop by the Study Abroad Office and visit Bijou and discuss her adventures and upcoming trips for CBU.

23 Lies You Tell Yourself While Traveling (“This can all fit in the carry-on.”)

1. You can sleep/relax on the flight. You’ll undoubtedly get annoyed with SOMETHING at SOMEPOINT.
2. No social media binges for the entire trip. …#pssshhhh
3. You won’t stand out as a tourist. Put that Hawaiian inspired shirt back in your bag.
4. People will be welcoming. Some will… some will just chuckle.
5. You’ll get an “early start” in the morning. One more snooze…it’s vacation after all, right?
6. You’ll pick up on some of the language. Besides “yes,” “no,” and “Where is the bathroom?”
7. Kilometers are pretty much the same as miles. They never have been and never will be.
8. All decisions will be made with a clear state of mind. Wait, what?
9. You’ll stay in touch with the people you met in the hostel. It’s the novelty effect, and you’ll forget all of their names within the year.
10. You’ll master the country’s hottest dance moves. Your hips may not usually lie, but they are now because they don’t speak the language.
11. You’ll have one of those “best night ever” moments. You can’t predict these, yet you still have hope every time.
12. “We’ll come back!” Again… one can always hope.
13. You’ll “quickly” check in with someone back home. Make that a two-hour conversation.
14. Oh, it’s not that expensive! Your conversion rate is off. Try that math again.
15. This is such an authentic restaurant! Without fail, each trip will include a touristy munching spot that you’ll get sucked into and cannot avoid.
16. You’ll try all the delicacies. But when you hear what they are… maybe not.
17. Calories don’t exist on vacation. As Pooh says, “What could be more important than a little something to eat?”
18. You won’t enter a food coma. This will inevitably happen at least once because everything’s just so yummy.
19. These souvenirs will make great gifts. And then you keep them all for yourself.
20. You’ll accomplish everything on your itinerary. You overbooked yourself, but in the end, it’s OK because what you did do was totally the right decision.
21. Every detail of this trip will be engraved into your memory. You probably won’t remember half of the things that happened, but that’s what photos and friends are for.
22. You won’t be sad to leave. False. A good vacation rarely equals a happy departure back home.
23. You’ll never visit this place again. Wrong. If you loved it, you’ll be back eventually. Until then, just relax and repeatedly scroll through your pictures.

Adapted article from the BuzzFeed community

Get All the Buzz

I don’t know about you, but I am slightly obsessed with BuzzFeed articles… those randomly intriguing publications concerning the most relatable aspects of one’s life that we may not realize almost everyone experiences. Through some late night insomniac iPhone scrolling, I had come across a few articles regarding travel and studying abroad that I thought would be good to pass along because I couldn’t have conveyed it better myself…
(Disclaimer: Some of these are genuinely knowledgeable or helpful, while others are just for mere humor.)
18 Things Americans Studying Abroad in Europe Say, and What They Really Mean
(Because When in Rome…)
Travel Secrets You Need To Know (When should you really buy your plane ticket?)
22 Travel Trends to Look Forward to in 2014
12 of the Best Places to Study Abroad (Warning: You’ll never want to come home.)
19 DIY Projects for the Travel Obsessed

Be a “Smart” Traveler

With thousands of iPhones and Androids being manufactured faster than we can blink, the smartphone has intertwined its way into our everyday lifestyle. Gone are the days of atlases and MapQuest. Sure, asking directions from local strangers is still acceptable, but why ask for one person’s advice when you can harness hundreds? As with everything else, there’s an app for travel.

If you’re going to download any travel app, make sure Kayak is the first. It was recently voted the #1 mobile travel app… and how could it not be? With its extensive searches of a multitude of hotels, car rentals, flight-tracking, etc., you can plan your whole itinerary without a single travel agent involved. Sounds too easy, right? Maybe the other 20 million people who have downloaded this app can alleviate any reservations you might have (no pun intended.)

lonely-planetLonely Planet
Long story short, this app contains everything you would need to know about anything important within any given city — all with the tap of a button. Believe me, it’s not such a lonely planet after all.


For those not already familiar with this handy program, Yelp provides tourists with not only the most essential excursion information, but also a local flair, depending on the votes of previous visitors. It maps your location, providing the best eateries, sites, and exhibits for any traveler’s taste or budget. Remember: Need help? Open Yelp.

google-gogglesGoogle Goggles
You know those instances when you see an interesting building or site while traveling and wish you knew something about it, but have no one to ask? This app is the perfect solution for those helpless occasions. It allows access to the information about the location through a Google search, just by taking its photo. Also, this app allows for translation of signs or menu items from one language to another by a simple snap of the camera. (For Android users only)

viber-logowhat's-App-logoViber or What’s App
Having anxiety about not being able to call or text friends and family back home without the enormous fees? Don’t fret! Thanks to the brilliant minds behind Viber and What’s App, anyone can contact anybody across the world… for FREE. (Yes, you just read that correctly. FREE.) The only thing you need to know is that this is exclusive to smartphone users and both parties must download the app in order to communicate. Other than that, feel free to go ahead and proclaim to everyone how exciting traveling is the moment it happens.