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Study Abroad: IES Paris, French Studies Program
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Mary Fisk

Hometown: Susquehanna, PA
Majors: French and German Studies

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this program by reviewing programs on PSU Global Programs and speaking with my advisor.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Studying in Paris was a great cultural experience and I thoroughly enjoyed my fellow students and professors while in Paris. While in Paris, I moved from one homestay to the other. The Housing Coordinator at IES Paris was very helpful and my new host family was terrific. I lived one block from the Champs-Elysees, a two-minute walk from a metro stop, and my biggest difficulty was trying to decide which historic landmark, museum, park, etc. to visit each day. I was very studious while there and it paid off well in terms of my grades. I do wish I had traveled a bit more, but I did get to know Paris very, very well. I have to say that I made some great friends for life and they were, quite honestly, the best part of the whole experience.

How did this experience impact you academically?

It was invaluable because I got to see the history and culture of Paris that we were studying in my classes. I took two history classes, in architecture and the city of Paris, and we went on five "class trips" around Paris for each class. The History of Paris class was fantastic and that was all because of our professor, Claude Rabate. He is a walking historical encyclopedia of Paris history and he was able to give us personal anecdotes from his life and point out historical landmarks that you would never have seen or known about otherwise. Absolutely invaluable!

"I have to say that I made some great friends for life and they were, quite honestly, the best part of the whole experience."

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

I would like to teach at a university level once I have completed my graduate studies. I also plan on studying abroad again, this time in Germany, next spring. I firmly believe you cannot be the most effective professor possible if you have not visited the land of the language and/or which you are teaching. My first French professor studied abroad as well many years ago and I found her experiences that she shared with us to still be true today. It helped immensely in that I had some idea of what to expect and what might be expected of me.

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