Besançon, France

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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.



Montbéliard, France

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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.

David Syfrain

Paris, France

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emilia-nava-paris-1  emilia-nava-paris-2

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

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Münster, Germany           

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cara-muensterStudying abroad in Münster was the perfect way to spend a summer. The Kapito Language School is located in the heart of the city and offers an effective approach to learning the German language and culture. The small classroom size and diverse student population allows everyone to learn the German language and culture together while also learning about other students’ cultural backgrounds along the way.

Kapito offers many local and out-of-town trips and encourages every student to participate. Some of the local trips include movie nights, bike tours of Münster, and a trip to the city zoo. Weekend day trips include exploring Amsterdam, Bonn, and Hamburg. All excursions are under 15 Euro (or free!) and are great ways befriend new people and practice your German.

The transportation in Europe is extremely accessible and reliable. Trains are the most popular way to travel Germany and the beautiful landscapes of the countryside are a sight worth seeing. Buses and flights are also inexpensive and give you countless opportunities to travel Europe to visit friends and family or to plan a weekend trip.

One does not need to leave Münster to be totally immersed in the European culture. Münster provides an eclectic variety of restaurants, pubs, museums, music venues, theater productions and parks. There are citywide events such as carnivals, concerts, flea markets and farmer’s markets. Münster is extremely accessible and is very pedestrian friendly. The opportunities are endless!

— Cara Wanamaker


Urbino, Italy

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My name is Meghan O’Brien, and I am completing a Contract Major in Italian. I spent an entire academic year in the majestic Renaissance city of Urbino, Italy—a prospect that was integral in strengthening my Italian proficiency, and invaluable in terms of furthering my independence and confidence. At the University of Urbino Carlo Bo, all instruction is in Italian, and while most professors graciously accommodated international students, we were responsible for the same content matter as our Italian peers. I lived in a sprawling dorm complex among predominantly Italian students who became a family to me, and they eagerly shared their cultures (I learned that Italian culture dramatically differs regionally!) and their lives with me. Lingua Ideale helped to support international students, but we were given an overwhelming amount of independence which fostered incredible social and academic growth.

Urbino is remotely situated among the verdant mountains of the Marches in central Italy.  Prepare yourself for brutal hilly streets and miles of walking, but also for the most extraordinary sunsets of a lifetime and the opportunity to live within the walls of a once thriving ducal palace. The staggered nature of the Italian academic year left me the time and the fortune to visit dozens of European countries over the span of ten months, but many of the most important lessons I learned and greatest friendships I built transpired at the kitchen table of the block where I lived. The education was tremendous and the travel was unforgettable, but the people made a world of a difference. My Italian (and one Turkish) roommates and plethora of international friends helped me authentically enhance my abilities in Italian, deepened my passion, supported me, and showed me an international perspective I never anticipated. I experienced infinite challenges, cultural miscommunications, and moments of homesickness, but the trials are what rendered the experience unique and helped me to grow.

Urbino, Italy Summer Program

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Latin & Central America

Buenos Aires, Argentina 

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gabrielle-660x525Choosing to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina has been the best decision I’ve made in my college career. As an international relations major with a minor in latin american studies and communications, I felt the best way to get a deeper understanding of what I was learning was to venture to the places which I have read so much about. Being immersed in the language 24/7 has improved my Spanish and pushed me to learn more each day. I hope to use Spanish in my career and know that the best way to learn a language is to live in it.

Studying in Buenos Aires is a crazy mix of Latin and European culture. The architecture catches your eye and the city, while large, still maintains a slower, more relaxed vibe. You often hear porteños saying “tranqui,” as in, “calm down, don’t worry, enjoy.” Argentina, as a whole offers a plethora of places to visit and learn more about the diversity of the landscape. I took a road trip across Argentina with my friends, where we drove to Mendoza, the wine region of Argentina and enjoyed biking through the vineyards and wine tours. We then drove to Córdoba, the second largest city in Argentina, where we visited museums and beautiful cathedrals. Finally, we drove to Rosario, where Argentine friends of mine who had studied at New Paltz welcomed my friends and I into their home with a large Asado (BBQ). I’m always touched by the hospitality of Argentines, willing to go above and beyond for anyone they care about, as well as people they have yet to meet. All in all, I love it, and I think anyone with a desire to experience a new place would too.

¡Vamos, Argentina!

Gabrielle Napoli

Guatemala, Summer Human Rights and Social Justice 

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Oviedo, Spain

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samantha-nicoliello-2My name is Samantha Nicoliello and I am a Spanish Secondary Education Major. Studying abroad in Oviedo, Spain this past summer was a life-changing experience. I have become a more independent and open-minded person. Arriving in Oviedo, everything was new and exciting, and having to go from speaking English 100 percent of the time to Spanish 100 percent of the time was an adjustment. My host mother was amazing! She exposed me to many different Spanish dishes, phrases, and daily activities. The town was always very active and lively during the day, with many places to eat and shop, with the main cathedral being the place to meet up and relax. At night, there was a different vibe in the air when everyone hit the town after dinner (which was always very late!) Everyone stayed out until morning at the cafes, clubs, and bars like the night would never end! It was so enticing to see how laid back and relaxed everyone was, which I’d like to try and adopt back in the states! With the Universidad de Oviedo, we went on many different weekend trips including a trip to Covadonga. I went to Madrid on my own (not planned with the school) with friends I made on the trip and experienced even more art and beauty that Spain had to offer! It was unreal to go into the La Reina Sofia and el Prado museum and see pieces of art by Picasso, Dalí, and other artists that I knew I would be talking about in my Spanish culture classes. It is awesome to make the connections between what I have seen in Spain to what I am learning in my classes now, because I have been there and I have seen it in person and not just in a textbook. Being back in America, I miss Spain almost everyday, especially when we talk about Oviedo in my classes or the art that I’ve seen in the museums. I am so thankful for the experience New Paltz has given me to sharpen my Spanish, live a different culture, and have memories I will never forget!

Seville, Spain

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