Media, Culture, and Communication major Miguel Santana is from the Philippines but grew up in Hong Kong, where he attended a French school. Although he’s proficient in French, he chose to attend NYU Paris in his sophomore year to become fluent in the language. In addition to advancing his speaking ability, Miguel discovered that his time at NYU Paris expanded his capacity to help first-year students adjust to their new home.

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Miguel in the streets of Paris

“Students in NYU’s Liberal Studies program have the option of spending their first year in Paris,” says Miguel, who described NYU Paris as a very nurturing environment. “You know everyone, you see them every day, and you feel like you’re a part of a community,” he said. As a peer mentor who lived in the first-year residence hall, Miguel was often thrown into situations with other people who had also never lived in Paris. “This allowed for bonding and helped us grow in terms of how open we are to different kinds of people,” says Miguel. “Regardless of major, year, or status, it was very easy to connect with others,” he continued. “There were only five or six sophomores when I was there, so I made friends with juniors and seniors too, and that was one of the best parts.”

As for his courses, Miguel loved every single one. “Global Media Seminar was taught by the best professor I ever had. He’s so passionate about what he teaches. I was blown away every class. It was only six students and it became more of a discussion rather than a lecture. The course The French Contemporary Art World was great too,” he says, “because every week we went to a different gallery, museum, or artist’s workshop. We even went to an exhibition that my professor curated. Just listening and absorbing and writing notes improved my French tremendously.”