What goals did you set for yourself this summer? What were your priorities during your Summer Abroad Program in Nice?
I just wanted to increase my knowledge of the French language and improve all around because I was going to be taking AP French. I wanted to make sure I would be able to prepare myself as much as possible. I wanted to really immerse myself in the language and the culture so that I could have an edge going into my French class this year.
How did Abbey Road help you meet each of those goals?
I definitely feel like I met those goals. The directors, instructors, and staff all encouraged us to speak French as much as possible especially among each other. They made sure to correct our grammar and help us find the right words. The staff was constantly making sure we were getting as much out of this experience as we possibly could.
What about Abbey Road as a company did you like best?
All the staff. I loved all of my teachers and the director. The whole atmosphere they created. They wanted to help us learn as much as possible while still having fun. All the activities we did, even if they weren’t all necessarily educational, they were important culturally to experience.
Has your French improved? Has your experience this summer impacted your educational goals?
I have definitely noticed an improvement in my comprehension of the French language. When my French teacher talks in class, I can understand her better. I have always had more difficulty with speaking finding the right words quickly, but it’s definitely easier than it was last year. I didn’t want to leave when it was time to go home. Now I plan to either major or minor in French in college and I hope to study abroad at some point. I think my experience with Abbey Road over the summer has influenced that decision greatly.
Did this program help prepare you for college in any way? I think so. Even though I didn’t have a roommate, I still had to buy my own groceries and keep care of my room. We were given a certain amount of money for snacks and groceries that we had to budget each week. Our Director made sure we were budgeting ourselves like a college student would need to.
How did you like living in the residence?
I thought the location was perfect. We were centrally located in the city. It was close enough to the beach where we could walk, but it was also really close to the old village of Nice where everything happens. We were always really close to everywhere we needed to be. We cooked for ourselves two to three nights a week, which was great. I really liked making crepes. They were delicious and now I can make crepes at home.
What was a “typical” class lesson like?
The whole class was conducted in French. We barely spoke any English at all. We usually spent the first hour talking about a specific subject like colors or adjectives etc. We were being taught a specific subject in French. Then, for the next two hours, we would go out into the city and use what we learned in class. One time we went to the farmer’s market after we talked about different types of fruit and the way French people grocery shop, which is different than in America. I had an idea of what experiential learning was, but I had never experienced it like this. I think it was cool to talk about something and then be able to actually go out and do it.
How was the mix of class, excursions, and cultural activities?
Well, our French class was three hours in the morning, which I thought was the perfect amount of time. The days we didn’t have electives, we had more time to do whatever we wanted like go to the beach or hang around town. I really enjoyed the group activities as well. One time we all went to all see a movie in an outdoor theater and the screen was projected on the outside of a castle. It was really great to have these group activities as well as having our own time to explore for ourselves.
Do you have a favorite memory from your experience this summer?
Now that I know everybody when I look back I think about the first time we all met at the airport. It was awkward and weird at first, but know that I know everybody it’s really funny to look back at those few hours. It didn’t take long to get to know everybody and from then on it was just awesome.
Now that you are home do you think the experience changed you in any way?
It’s definitely made me more independent. I flew to France by myself the first time without my family.
Living in the dorm, even though I wasn’t alone I had to be more responsible for myself. A lot of the people on the trip lived outside of the US and we actually became really good friends and being exposed to their cultures makes me thinks about the differences between the two.
Was there a “typical” student on this program?
Everyone knew some French. Everyone was really nice. The majority of the students were American high school girls, but there were definitely a handful of people from Venezuela and a couple girls from Saudi Arabia. It was really cool to have a mix of people. Everybody got along. Some students you get to know better than others, but everybody was friends with everyone.
Did you have any fears before the start of the program? I think my biggest fear was the flight over there. I didn’t fear to be alone, but I didn’t know how I was going to adjust to living alone without my parents. I think it turned out pretty well and I’m really glad I did it.
Would you recommend Abbey Road to a friend?