I studied abroad in Paris, France in the fall of 2012. It was a truly invaluable experience to stay with a host family and to take classes at both the IES Abroad center and the Sorbonne. Fortunately, the IES Abroad center was in the 14th arrondissement which is a fairly central location that allowed me to explore the city easily. I was nervous about living in a cosmopolitan city, but I ended up loving it—especially all the public transportation. With IES Abroad, I had no classes on Fridays and I took advantage of my three-day weekends to either travel Europe, check out various Parisian neighborhoods with an organized IES group, or hang out with my French friends. Students could choose to go on one of the three day trips that IES organized throughout the semester to Giverny, Vaux-de-Vicomte, and Reims. I loved Paris and can’t wait to go back!
I had a wonderful experience in Paris with the IES French Studies program. During my time studying abroad, I made some long-lasting relationships, vastly improved my French language skills, and gained confidence. The best part of my experience was living with a host family. My host parents were gracious, generous, and helped me adjust to the French language and culture. They even invited me to spend a weekend at their beautiful house on the Brittany coast! Through the IES educational program, I took a service learning seminar, through which I volunteered at a local café, as well as a women’s studies course at a French university with other French students. These opportunities, in addition to taking classes all in French, contributed to the huge improvement in my language skills. Finally, navigating a foreign city on my own made me feel empowered and independent. The benefits of studying abroad are limitless, and long-lasting.
My semester in Nantes, France was a magical one. Living with a host family was a unique experience and I learned so much from just living "the French Life" and spending my days talking about life with my host parents. I learned how to communicate when I didn't always know the right word, how to trust myself when trying to navigate a new city, and how to approach life from a different point of view. My only regret was having to leave that wonderful country where I had grown so much in four short months.
This picture of me was taken at Le Château de Chambord, one of the Châteaux of the Loire River Valley. This trip to these castles was the kick start to my amazing semester in France. Studying abroad in Nantes, France was one of my best decisions at Gettysburg College. The city of Nantes was a perfect place for me to develop my language, and I felt at home during the process. The city was friendly, I had a host family that cared about me just like one of their own children, my program was awesome, the Americans in my program were friendly, and, of course, the food was fantastic! I was able to not only enjoy the local sites of Nantes with my program and my host family, but I was also able to enjoy other sites in different areas of France with the IES Program as well.
The video below discusses Joshua's research and time in France.