Bonjour! Students study abroad in France
WILMORE, KY—Senior Lawrence Meyers from Lexington, Ky., and junior Christen Bouchard from Dayton, Ohio, spent several weeks in France as part of a study abroad program through the College.
The program called Chez Vous located in Normandy, France, is a six-week summer program that integrates French language study with real life. Students not only develop their French language skills with training from native speakers, but also enhance their love for French culture through sightseeing, community service excursions and by building relationships with fellow students and local residents.
“Our days were full of diverse experiences, from buying bread at the bakery, to singing popular tunes with our poet-professor and his guitar, to celebrating with the townspeople in the streets after France’s World Cup victories,” Bouchard said. “We saw many different aspects of French culture.”
Meyers said the classes were different than he expected. He understood the language better with the addition of several classes in drama and poetry.
“I’ve never taken drama that was a way of learning the language. They were pushing us to do things we wouldn’t necessarily do like improv,” he said.
Both were a little apprehensive about the experience at first. “I had visions of getting thrown into awkward, one-on-one situations with French people and not being able to communicate,” Bouchard said.
Their fears didn’t prove true however. Meyers and Bouchard said their interactions with the French were very positive and they were able to build friendships. In Meyers’ experience, the locals were kind—even when he occasionally used the incorrect word in French.
Meyers and Bouchard also became good friends on the trip and helped each other navigate the new territory.
Their excursions took them to the city’s many attractions from World War II cemeteries to museums and more.
While World War II—including the pivotal battle that occurred in the city—has long since ended, Meyers said the scars are still visible. Some buildings were rebuilt more modern, however, others were refurbished to maintain their original look and still others were left untouched—to serve as a memorial.
“There are a million reasons why you should make studying abroad a part of your college education,” Bouchard said. “You will gain a greater appreciation for the richness of diverse cultures. You will encounter people and experiences that will leave their mark on you forever. Most of all, you will find yourself in a situation where God uncovers weaknesses and strengths you never knew you had. If you choose to go—go expecting and wanting to be changed. It’s only with this attitude that you’ll be able to make the most of the experience.”
Meyers and Bouchard hope to return to France for visits or to live as teachers once they graduate.
To find out more about study abroad programs and the foreign language department, contact Shelby Thacker, professor of Spanish and department chair at (859) 858-3511, ext. 2202.