I can’t believe it: I’m no longer a freshman! These past few weeks have been crazy with papers, last minute homework, studying, and, of course, finals. I don’t think that it as hit me quite yet that my first year of college is already done with. I am back home in Knoxville but part of me still thinks that I will be heading back to campus any day now. Knowing that I won’t be back in Harrogate until August will take some getting used to!
Looking back to how much I’ve changed just since my freshman year of high school has absolutely astounded me. Back then I wasn’t completely sure where I wanted to go to college and what I wanted to study, let alone any other future goals that I
had. Even now there is still a lot left unanswered for me regarding future goals of mine, but I feel comfortable with my courses of study and my place at LMU! A lot has changed in the past four years. I would have never been able to present at a research conference, considered joining a sorority, or ever find out my love for foreign language, as shown in my previous blog post!
This newly found passion of mine has me set on a new goal. I loved going to my French classes and doing extra work wit Dr. Churchwell for honors credit, but I felt as though something is missing from my experience with the language. I can get a lot of experience from class and my own reading but it would never be the same as experiencing the language in a “real” setting. I’ve done a lot of research and I have decided that I will work on studying abroad in France sometime next year. I have yet to decide exactly when or for how long, but I will have plenty of time to get all the necessary paperwork and finances together before I board a plane! One program I am strongly considering is through the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) at The University of Grenoble Stendhal. The University of Grenoble is widely known for its involvement with hosting students from foreign countries and offers courses in exactly what I want to learn: French! In the summer 2015 section that I am right now considering the most, classes meet five days per week for four hours a day. That would be twenty hours per week of intensive French language suitable for my level which would be determined by a proficiency exam that I would take my first day at the University. Take a look at the link to the AIFS website here!
AIFS offers programs all around the world, including St. Petersburg, Berlin, Athens, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, and many
others. Programs can be as short as a month either in the summer or in January, a semester, or a full academic year. I am thinking that I would first like to try a month in the summer to see if I like the feel of study abroad first. I wouldn’t want to be stuck on a new continent for a whole semester or even a year if I didn’t like it! I am almost positive that I would enjoy the experience, but I do tend to be overly cautious at times. Students have the option of staying in University housing or living with a homestay family. Homestay families are families who apply to host study abroad students and are put through a rigorous screening process. My first thought was honestly not to live with a family, but after talking with Dr. Churchwell about it I think it would be a wonderful experience! I could practice my French outside of the classroom and know what it’s really like to live as a French person. Who knows? There’s a chance I could end up with a homestay brother or sister! As an only child, that would be quite an interesting experience!
There will be a lot of planning in my future, but I am determined to do this. Within the next few weeks I will be working on applying for a passport, researching and comparing more programs, and figuring out the financial aspect of it all. I decided earlier this semester to move into Lafrentz-Poole, the single-occupancy dormitory on campus that is a little cheaper than what I was paying while I lived at Mitchell Hall. Any money that I save this year in housing will go toward my study abroad funds.
I don’t know what lies ahead for me in so many aspects of my life right now. I am looking forward to the fall and starting my second year at LMU and seeing what that has in store for me. The future holds so much uncertainty for me but that’s what makes me most excited.
As usual, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to email me or leave a comment on my blog!