Study Abroad in Besancon, France
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Ilene Parker

Major: French and Francophone Studies with the French-Business Option
Minor: Teaching English as a Second Language, Smeal Business Certificate
Hometown: Bala Cynwyd, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I was told about this program in one of my French classes, and then attended an information session in which past participants were present.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The combination of living with the best host family [and] taking intensive French classes with students from all over the world truly made this the best summer I have ever had.

My experience abroad was more than I could have ever asked. The combination of living with the best host family in the beautiful town of Besancon, taking intensive French classes with students from all over the world, and meeting other Penn State students with similar goals as myself truly made this the best summer I have ever had. Although classes were sometimes tiring, I have become almost fluent in French in the most fun method and met amazing people that I would have never met otherwise. I even had the opportunity to travel to seven different European countries during my time abroad!

How did this experience impact you academically?

Before this program, I felt as though I had reached stagnancy in my French studies and did not know how to further my French learning and knowledge. The French language and culture has always been a passion of mine, yet I was unsure how to further this while in America. Thanks to this experience, I have overcome this and am now nearly fluent in French, and have learned a great deal about France that I would not have learned otherwise. I am excited to return to Penn State and take as many classes as I can in the French department in order to learn as much as I can!

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I have always wished to work abroad, yet was not sure if my French knowledge was enough to work in France. After this summer, I am determined to work for a non-profit in France and use my connection between France and America to my advantage in order to help others. I wish to travel a great deal as part of my job, and I know that studying in Besancon has prepared me to do so successfully. I now know much more not only about France but other European cultures, and I strive to employ this knowledge to help others.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, I would definitely recommend this program to other Liberal Arts students! In my opinion, studying in Besancon was the best thing I could have done for my French studies and future. As a French major, this program was ideal for me, and I am positive that other French majors or minors will benefit greatly from this program! The immersion aspect truly sets this program apart from the others, and I hope that other Penn State students will benefit from this program as much as I have!

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

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