Vida explores the flower market in downtown Aix-en-Provence.
Overseas Study Program
Vida’s majors: Chemistry and French
Year/term abroad: Spring 2010
Reason you chose the program: This program embodied all that I was looking for in a French immersion program. I needed to fulfill my French requirement in at short time as possible as well as improve my spoken French. The program had the option of living with a French family therefore I had the opportunity to improve my verbal skills. There was also an onsite program office there that was a support base and the program is a collaboration between three American universities, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin Madison and IU, which provided me with something familiar in the new environment.
Favorite classes: I enjoyed my grammar class, Syntaxe du Francais, and Antropologie de la Provence
Describe the housing situation: I lived with a French host family and it was an absolutely awesome experience! I had a room in the house and was provided with breakfast and dinner during the week. The best part of living with a family was that I was able to greatly improve my French. Meal times are very conversational so I was able to learn more about my family, about France and also share different cultural differences with my host family. Although I lived with a family, I was still free to travel, hang out with friends and experience the culture. It was not limiting because there was no curfew so I still had the college experience. My host mom was also very excited to take me around and tell me about the city so I had the privilege of having a personal tour guide! In summary, I believe I got the most out of my experience living with a family.
Complete this sentence: If I could do it over I would...visit more places in my city and get to know more French students. It takes a lot of effort building those relationships but it is definitely worth it!
Greatest challenge: It was really hard communicating the first few weeks because my spoken French was not very good but I was amazed at how quick I was able to catch on.
Biggest Surprise: Paying for public toilets! That was interesting and cool at the same time.
Best memory: I have a few really good memories. My favorite however, was taking walks with my host mom at night through the city. What I loved most about Aix-en-Provence was that I could walk everywhere I needed to go because it was accessible. A few nights after dinner, my host mom and I would walk around the city. We went to this really cool garden/park once that looked like a mini forest with a stream running through it. It felt so surreal and breathtaking. Since we lived downtown, we stopped at a café on our way home and just enjoyed the scenery. Downtown Aix is really beautiful at night.
Going Abroad versus staying on campus: I strongly suggest that EVERYONE study abroad. I learned so much about myself but, even more, I learned that I could do anything as long as I put my mind to it. Studying abroad expands your horizon, literally, and you begin to see the world through new eyes.