Distances Worth Discovering

Floriane paragliding over many trees, houses, and pools below her.
Growing up in a French military family, Floriane traveled internationally from a very young age, including the diverse landscapes and people of America. Her next trip to the United States, however, would be on her own terms.

Floriane, who has muscular dystrophy, has been using a power wheelchair since age three, and when she was eighteen years old, she joined disability groups that planned holiday travels. She has traveled from her home country of France to the souks in Morocco to the museums in London.

“If you struggle at home, you won’t necessarily struggle in other countries. There are always great surprises!”

This love for discovery of cultures would carry on not only with her personal endeavors, but also her educational pursuits.

Floriane’s graduate program in Business Management in Paris offered an international component to complete one year in Spain and one year in the United States with the University of South Carolina’s Masters in International Business. This sounded just right for Floriane.

“Plan as far as advance as possible and think about what’s important for you to have a successful and enjoyable time during your studies.”

In France, students with disabilities receive scholarships to pursue higher education. Therefore, most of her funding expenses were set for her studies in the United States. Floriane then made arrangements for a friend to join her for the program to be her personal assistant for transferring to and from her wheelchair. Her friend joined her after applying for a tourist visa, and could not stay longer than six-month increments.

There are options to find personal assistant services in the United States, but Floriane enjoyed sharing new discoveries with her friend and it offered more flexibility for spontaneous trips to diverse cities, such as Atlanta and New York City.

When Floriane arrived to the United States, a big apartment on a beautiful, tranquil campus in South Carolina awaited her. Coming from Paris, she was used to being in a bustling city with much smaller flats. She also used many options of public transportation in Paris, which her smaller community in South Carolina did not offer. Getting around campus is easier in the United States without relying on a personal assistant as she did in Paris, but going to town would be easier with a car in South Carolina.

Access to public transportation is important to Floriane, and for some students it may be climate issues, such as navigating in the cold and snow or difficulty in hotter temperatures. These are all important factors to think about when deciding not only what to study, but where to study.

Floriane found that #Access2USA opens your mind, prepares you for future jobs, and gives you the opportunity to meet people from so many backgrounds.

“With the will you can travel everywhere and meet fantastic people. All of the energy to make it happen is worth it!”