We can’t believe this mod has already come to an end! But on the other end, it seems like the beginning of our trip in Paris was a year ago. While we are currently on the Bateaux Mouches, a boat tour of Paris through the Seine, we are looking back on all the memories and lessons which came out of our time abroad. While many of us often slipped up and referred to this mod as “The France Trip”, this was nothing like a vacation.
Every morning, we attended French language classes at ILP. One of the most intriguing aspects of the ILP classroom, was the racial and age diversity of students in the classroom. Whether the three Swiss teenagers or 60 year old couple from Holland, we were met with a variety of perspectives which we don’t typically hear. The two of us were in the same class and are both coming home with a strengthened understanding of the French language. What really made ILP classes stand out from typical language education was how much we focused on listening comprehension. Listening to radio news programs was challenging and frustrating at points but with patience, we were able to follow along. Our conversational skills flourished as well. At the beginning of class everyday, our teachers would engage us in casual discourse regarding our previous evening. Through regularly being given the opportunities to expand our vocabulary, we compiled a list of over 250 words and phrases, which we were tested on at the end of the week. As a final culmination of what we learned in our 16 day course, we each gave brief presentations on a topic of our choosing.
While we lived in Montpellier, we went on several excursions, which you can read more about in past blog posts. These day or half day long trips gave us the opportunity to explore the south of France beyond Montpellier. And these trips were much more than eye candy– Our tour guide, Jeremy, always informed us of the historical and cultural significances of where we were visiting. Whether it was a fortified city nestled into the French countryside, or a quaint fishing port with canals running through it, we were able to learn about the rich history of the area in which we spent our mod abroad.
While the more typical educational opportunities were superb, much of our learning occurred outside of the classroom. Whether spending time with our host family or reflecting in our journals, this trip made us realize more about ourselves and about the culture of the world around us. Our final projects required us to research a historical location in Montpellier and present it to our group (en français, bien sûr). I (Sheer) vividly remember the moment when I sat reading various historical sources in the mediatechque and realized that so much history is surrounding us at all times.
In conclusion, the last step of our journey is thanking Diana, Awa, and Charlotte for supporting us throughout the entire experience. We recognize that we are extremely fortunate to complete this module abroad.