Study Abroad Then And Now
Hi! My name is Emma Meese, and for my pre-trip blog post, I decided to interview my French teacher, Maron, about her experiences studying abroad during college. I thought that it could give me more insight on the different factors of participating in an immersion program, and potentially help others if they are deciding whether or not to travel overseas and stay with a host family. I have compiled her interview answers into more of a profile about herself. I hope that by reading my blog post, you gain knowledge about what it must have been like to take this trip, talking to her certainly inspired me!
Maron Faulkner is a current French teacher at St. Mary’s Academy, in Portland Oregon. She first knew she wanted to study abroad in ninth grade, and she knew she needed to go during college when she began to major in French. Maron traveled through the internal study abroad program at Colorado College, and was placed in the south of France for a semester.
In preparation for her trip, she continued to take her French classes, and recieved a French-English dictionary for Christmas.
Her host family consisted of a couple who always hosted two people at a time, and Maron and her roommate, Beth, were very fortunate to stay with this family. They were very open-minded, socialists, and one of the only families in town willing to host vegetarians. They had a lot of previous experience with hosting exchange students, so they were very understanding and helpful in adjusting to living in France. Maron also mentioned that when she arrived, even though she had never spoken French to any non-English speakers before, she communicated well and people were able to understand her, which was great!
With packing, Maron said she wished she had brought less. She thought she would need a lot more than she actually did, and she had to carry her luggage everywhere she went, especially around the train stations. In regards to her experiences, Maron said one thing she would do differently would be to speak in French the entire time, even when she was by herself with her roommate. Beth wanted to do this, but Maron disagreed, and therefore, they did not, but she definitely regrets it and wishes they had.
Maron’s favorite part of her trip was being in a non-English speaking country and being able to successfully communicate with the locals! She also said that the breakthrough barrier, when you realize what you are really doing and how much you are learning, is amazing.
Her least favorite part of her exchange was when her and Beth woke up early one day, and went out into the kitchen to find their host dad eating rabbit brains, using the rabbit’s head as a bowl, for breakfast. Even though he hadn’t meant for them to see him, they were still very surprised.
Lastly, Maron talked about how her experiences impacted her along with her view of the world. Coming from a small town, it was incredible for her to see a different part of the world, and realize how big the world truly is. The opportunity to travel and experience a whole new culture made her more open-minded. She mentioned that traveling at a younger age allows there to be less stress when traveling later in life, because you become more familiar with the world around you.
Studying abroad really was an extraordinary experience for Maron and it impacted her in a tremendous way. I sincerely value her willingness to tell me about her travels; I hope it helped you as much as it helped me. Thank you for reading my post, and I am so excited to travel to France and participate in ANDEO’s homestay program myself this summer!