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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Isabelle in France

Isabelle Cadrot ’19 is a double major in Environmental Studies and French studying in Montpellier, France.

As a Franco-American, studying in Montpellier, France has been an enriching experience for improving my French, understanding my identity, learning about other cultures, and increasing my independence. After just a month and a half here, I already have a better understanding of how I fit in with both American and French culture. Though living in France has certainly made me wish we had more delicious cuisine, better public transportation, or strong public engagement in politics back in the States, it has also made me more appreciative of my life back home where overall, people are optimistic and administrations and businesses are run efficiently. Living in France is a pleasure and a challenge, as you have a lot of independence, but less support is given to international students in comparison to American universities. You just have to be courageous enough to stick out the rough patches, because afterwards, you feel so proud to have figured out all those problems by yourself!

I am very satisfied with the courses I am taking with regular French students at Paul Valery Montpellier III. The quality of instruction here is high, but it is certainly a big transition to be sitting in a large amphitheater with 100 other students for a lecture in which there is little to no discussion and students do not ask the teacher questions. I am even more thankful now for the close relationships between students and professors at Lake Forest College that make students feel their professors are invested in their success.

As a final note, I would like to thank Ms. McGowan for making my dream to live in France more financially feasible through the Ingrid H. and George L. Speros Scholarship. I am so grateful for her support of Lake Forest College students’ international adventures that will stay with us for the rest of our lives! Vive la France!