Alumni Spotlight: Elsa A.

What were your top three priorities for wanting to study abroad this summer to France?

Aix class

Elsa: My first priority was to become more comfortable speaking to natives because it’s different when you are in a classroom speaking to your teacher rather than speaking to an actual French person.

The second priority was getting to be able to experience being away from my parents and becoming more independent.

The third priority would be fully immersing myself in the culture because I’ve lived in New York all my life and it was really different to change cultures. 

How did the Abbey Road Summer Program help meet each of those goals?

Elsa: Well for the interaction part, we had a lot of time in my French Conversation elective to get out there and speak to people and speak to the group and our teacher so I became really comfortable with speaking French.

Living in a residence with two girls was definitely something different as well as taking care of my apartment.

As for immersing myself in the culture, I lived there for a month! Going out in the neighborhood, talking and interacting with people, it was definitely very different. You can just tell by walking around that the culture is very different and that the people there are more open and warm than what I’ve experienced in New York. 

What is it about this experience you feel changed you?

I feel like I’m actually more talkative now because over there I had to talk a lot. Before I left for Aix, I was usually really quiet, but when I got there I kind of opened up and now I’m more social and outgoing. I think that has changed the most. 

How does the location of the program impact the experience? Does it matter "where" in France you go? 

I thought that being in Aix was perfect because it was definitely different from being in a city. It was such a small town and I felt like everyone was more of a family and people actually knew each other.

The storeowners would take time to talk to you. It was just such a different environment and I feel like everyone in Aix was a family.

In New York no one knows each other. You don’t speak to any one when you are walking you don’t say hi. In Aix, everyone says hi even if they don’t know you and I thought that was pretty awesome, as well as the whole small town county side town environment.

What type of student do you think would really benefit from this type of program?

Elsa: The type of student who I think would really benefit from this program would be a student that is studious, wants to work on their French or whatever language they are learning and while at the same time have fun and see the beautiful things that their host country has to offer. It has to be both. It can’t just be one or the other.