Photographer spends time abroad

by Student Photographer Hillary Taylor

As someone who has lived in Alabama all of my life, I had always wanted to venture out to see what the world was like outside of Florence. Last spring, I had the opportunity to study abroad in France, and the days I spent roaming Paris were some of the best of my life. If you are a student who is interested in visiting France but is on the fence about taking the trip, there are a few reasons why you should go for it.

First, UNA offers scholarships to help you pay for the trip. The cost of traveling to another country holds many students back while they are in college. The plane ticket alone can cost almost $1,000. Luckily for UNA students, there are scholarships available that can cover many of those expenses. That leaves you with more money to spend on souvenirs.

Next, you can earn college credit during your travels. UNA often offers several classes through study abroad programs. While visiting France, you can take IE 499, which is an intercultural experience class intended to teach you about the differences between American and French culture. There is also a class that teaches you about the art and history of France before you experience it. It is a fun way to boost your GPA.

Also, it is an easy way to visit a foreign country. Visiting a country with a different primary language can be intimidating. Associate professor of Foreign Languages Keith Lindley is the instructor that accompanies the students, and he might as well be French. It’s comforting to have a guide through the country who knows the city, culture and language. You do not have to worry about getting lost, and you do not have to know a word of French to enjoy your trip. The more populated areas of Paris speak English.

Lastly, it’s an enlightening way to expand your world view. We share a planet with millions of other people —people who come from different walks of life, with their own language, culture and history. It is important as citizens of this world that we appreciate these cultures, despite how vastly different they are from our own. There is no better way to appreciate these differences than to experience them for yourself. Things change once you leave Florence.

For more information about studying abroad in France, or if you’re interested in visiting another country via the UNA study abroad program, you can visit una.edu/foreign-languages/.