My name is Melissa Laudenbach. I am a double major in French and Spanish. At New Paltz, I have taken many enriching classes, but to refine my language skills even further, I spent two semesters abroad. It was a great opportunity to learn more about Spanish and French cultures. I spent a semester in Oviedo, Spain, and another in Besançon, France. In Spain I stayed with a host family and in France I lived in a dorm. Being immersed in cultures and languages other than my own was challenging; everything from walking down the street to going to class had a new sense of freedom and a little bit of mystery. It was easy to travel not only within these countries, but I was also able to travel during my breaks and visit a handful of other European countries. Through this experience I feel that have grown in so many ways: I am much better at managing my time, staying organized, and I also have a much better sense of self and direction. My time abroad was incredible. It gave me the chance to meet people I never would have met and to see things I never would have seen.
My name is Lemon Timmons. I am an Elementary Education Major with a concentration in French. I have always had great interest in French language and culture. It wasn’t until my semester abroad in France that I was able to truly appreciate all the years I had spent trying to immerse myself in French. The enriching experience you gain from traveling and living in another country is life changing. I spent one month studying at La Sorbonne in Paris, and then a Fall Semester in Besançon, France. In both places I stayed in dorm style housing. I am very grateful for both experiences because the two cities had many experiences to offer. When in Paris, I got to experience taking the metro system to classes, and walking the lit up crowded streets. In Besançon; I lived the life of a Franc-comtois (Region of which Besançon is located) getting to know other students from other universities of Franche Comte, and taking day hikes in the regions’ many options of trails. The semester in Besancon not only helped me to ameliorate my French speaking skills, but my confidence to take initiative when put in new surroundings. I did do my fair share of traveling around Europe, but I also took a great deal of time to become a Franc-comtois and took many opportunities that the university offered for all students.
My name is Amanda Copkov. This picture was taken on top of the Euro Wheel located in the Place Bellecour in Lyon, France. Studying abroad was easily one of the greatest experiences of my life thus far. I learned so much about myself from having the opportunity to live in France for a semester. I put myself completely out of my comfort zone, lived with a French host family in Centre Ville in Besançon, was forced to speak, learn and oftentimes teach myself a language that was not my native tongue, and in turn learned that I am capable of stretching my limits and experiencing and learning so much more than I could have ever expected. Living in France also makes traveling so easy. Most everywhere is a train ticket or cheap plane ride away, unlike anything we are able to experience in the United States. Studying abroad is an opportunity no one should take for granted. There are so many personal, life experiences that come from living somewhere new and foreign and making it your second home, even though it feels alien upon arrival. By the time you’re boarding your departure train, you’ll be in tears, wondering how on earth you were able to make this place your home, and feeling immediate longing to return just minutes after you’ve left. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking and life changing.
My name is Madeleine del Caño, and I’m a double major in French and Communication Studies. I’m the one in the front between the two girls in hijabs! It goes without saying that studying abroad will change your life, but Besançon brings a whole other dimension to that sentiment. I spent my months at the Centre de Linguistique Appliquée speaking French with people from every corner of the globe, including people from Syria, Uzbekistan, Russia, Algeria, Malaysia and more. They helped me learn about cultures that I would have never gotten to experience on my own, simply due to the world’s current political climate. I got to be a pseudo-ambassador for the United States every time I entered a classroom, creating an exciting environment of learning and understanding. Even though we all came from different places, we were able to come together and struggle with French grammar together! Beyond offering a diverse cast of friendly faces, Besançon is a navigable city that almost immediately feels familiar. While I was scared out of my mind to step onto the plane to Paris at the beginning of the semester, by the end I basically had to be forced to leave Besançon. I would tell people that it felt like my very own hometown at the end of those four months, and I still feel a deep affection for its cobblestone streets and Pont Battant.
My name is Kate McCutchen, and I am a double major in French and International Relations. Studying abroad in Besancon, France spring of 2016 was by far one of the most life changing experiences of my college education. Through this challenging, but motivating journey, I was able to enhance a deeper comprehension of the French language and develop a true appreciation for its beautiful culture. Living so close to Centre-Ville opened up so many opportunities to explore its beautiful streets, enriched with historical and alluring architecture where scents of freshly baked baguettes constantly roamed. From conversing with native Bisontins over a café au lait, to stopping in to a pâtisserie for a scrumptious macaroon, or relaxing with a picnic by le Doubs in Parc Micaud: the experiences were endless. The Centre de Linguistique Appliquée, where I attended school, allowed me to make so many life-lasting friendships with students from all around the globe, in countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand! It was such a humbling feeling to be able to communicate with locals and learn amongst other international students by speaking a native language, whom were so eager to share their culture and knowledge with each other. After the experience, you will be surprised at how much you will grow and learn about yourself in just four months. There is truly no greater learning experience than to be fully immersed within the culture itself. Not only did I become more independent, but opened my perspective to the world and knowledge of the global community. Besançon will always hold a special place in my heart, and will forever be remembered as my home away from home.
My name is Carly Eden Hariton. I am majoring in Secondary Education with a concentration in French. My semester abroad in Besançon in the spring of 2017 was by far the most exciting and transformative time in my life. Besançon is the kind of city that is small enough that you can find your way around and start to know the locals very quickly, while it is big enough for you to experience new surprises every day, around every corner. I have been studying French since middle school, so immersing myself in the language and culture I dedicated my studies to was a dream come true. I would spend my breaks between classes in the city center to do some shopping or spend time in cafés and book stores. On the weekend, I would visit Besançon’s beautiful parks or I’d go up to the historic citadel. With my host school, I went on weekend trips to Luxembourg, the castles of the Loire Valley, and other French cities. Besançon helped me to improve my understanding of French culture, while I had the opportunity to speak French on a daily basis. It gave me the responsibility to make a completely foreign place my own, and it really began to feel like home.
Studying abroad has been the most instructive initiative I have taken thus far. Coming from a third world country, travelling would be at the bottom of my list. So you can imagine how I felt when I learned I was studying abroad in France. It was like a dream come true! The program I attended, which was constructed by my teacher Ms. Mercedes Rooney, was different from the usual program the department of study abroad usually have in France. The Program was designed for students in affiliation with business and French. The process of the program was set that I would be studying French and business for eight weeks and spends the rest of the semester in an internship of my choice. The internship was splendid.
While I was in Montbéliard, France, I had the chance to travel to many other places. I took picture of most of the places that I have been such as Lyon. I went to Lyon the weekend before birthday, where I was able to have some great shot over the city. On the weekend of my birthday, I went to Amsterdam with a friend I met in the Université de Franche Conté where we spent the rest of the weekend exploring the city. Finally, after my internship I took two day to spend time in Paris and explore the city of love. Since I am not entirely photogenic, I took a few pictures of the city and the most prominent areas. I have made many friends and acquaintances that I will cherish for the rest of my life in this opportunity and hope that you in future experience the same.
The program I was a part of was a month long, in the beautiful city of Paris, and it was the greatest month of my life. I studied at the Catholic Institute of Paris with two other peers who went through SUNY New Paltz like I did. Our class sizes were no bigger than 20 people, which I loved because we really got to know our classmates, who were from all over the world. There were some from the United States, and others from Vietnam, Taiwan, Dubai, Hungary, Honduras and Japan. My main professor was passionate and encouraged us to speak the language, practice the language, and most importantly, understand the language. What I really loved about studying abroad was that learning didn’t just happen in the classroom; new experiences, new people, new places, and new foods were everywhere. I became close friends with the people in my program as well, which made our adventures (such as walking to school, visiting the Eiffel Tower, visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Palace of Versailles) that much more fun. I didn’t really know what to expect from studying abroad, but I never expected to fall in love with this beautiful country and its rich history. Thanks to study abroad, my journey to France began in the summer of 2015, and it will continue when I pursue my Master’s degree in France.
— Emilia Nava