I spent my junior fall semester studying at the Université Grenoble-Stendhal III through Swarthmore College in Grenoble, France, or the “capital of the Alps.” Choosing a rigorous French-language program in a city of moderate size turned out to be the best thing I could possibly have done for my French. Not only was I speaking French constantly, but I also discovered modern French literature and film in my classes, and acquired a taste for French cuisine in my biweekly cooking classes with a friend’s lovably stern host mother. I lived with an incredible family; playing with my two-year old host brother was always the best part of my day. I was definitely looking for a French cultural immersion experience, and I have to say that I hit the jackpot—I really spent the semester living and breathing Southeast France. In four months, I only left the country twice. I got to know the city intimately— had my cafés, my hiking trails, my shortcuts into town—and spent weekends visiting the villages and cities of the Rhône-Alpes, Provence, and (of course) Paris. When I think about the learning I did while abroad, language skills are just the tip of the iceberg. I’ll always remember feeling that comfortable in a foreign place, as surreal and unforgettable as the view of Mont Blanc from the trail by my apartment.
Château de Vizille