Letter to the Editor: Mader writes on time abroad
This past year I was the final recipient of an annual scholarship awarded to Marshfield High School students planning on studying abroad during the summer through the American Field Service (AFS) program. This scholarship allowed me to spend a month abroad in the south of France. Through this summer program, I was able to delve deep into French culture, gain French conversational skills, and learn more about the world around me.
After being awarded the scholarship, I had to choose a summer program to participate in. After researching the different programs, I found there were two options for French speaking programs: a home stay in Canada or a Summer Language Study in France. I opted for the Summer Language Study in France, because, although I would not have a host family, I would be experiencing a culture very different from my own and I would have the opportunity to meet other people from around the world.
The Summer Language Study took place in a camp in the town of Cap d’ail. The camp, Centre Mediterraneen D’Etudes Francaises, was only a staircase away from Monaco and the small town of Cap D’ail, making it the perfect location. The location allowed for many beach and Monaco related afternoon activities, such as: swimming, boating, kayaking, tanning, museums, sightseeing, shopping, dining, etc. Nice, a major French city, was also just a bus ride away. After taking the bus 100 to the last stop in Nice, a large mall, small boutiques, and other types of stores lined all of the streets. This city was a great location to practice speaking French and interacting with the native speakers.
Every morning during the week days, class would take place for four hours. Classes would consist of speaking, reading, writing, and cultural activities taught only in French. At first the classes were difficult because I didn’t know a lot of the French my teacher had been using, but as time went on, I was able to understand my teacher more and more. These morning classes helped me to communicate in the French cities by teaching slang and conversational French. After every class I felt more prepared to speak with native French speakers.
This program not only allowed me to enhance my French speaking and cultural knowledge, but it also allowed me to create friendships with teenagers from all over the globe. I made friends from Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Italy, England, Taiwan, France, Norway, and Romania. I have even been invited to spend the next summer in Sweden with one of my new friends. I never would have met any of these amazing friends without this program.
I am so grateful to have received this scholarship to spend a month of my summer in another country learning to speak French while making friends from all around the globe. Thank you to everyone who made this possible for me. I am so thankful to have been the last recipient of this scholarship. Thank you again.