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Lauren Yeskel

Lauren Yeskel ’11

September 2010

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Summer school enriches student’s experience in France

After spending the spring semester studying abroad at France’s Grenoble University, Lauren Yeskel ’11 sought a change of scenery for the summer. Two months in Montpellier, France, were to further advance her language skill and her cultural savvy. (World Cup in Europe, anyone?)

Yeskel, who is majoring in both French and international business and language area studies (IBLAS), moved on to the Paul Valéry Université de Montpellier near the Spanish border to take summer courses.

Her extended experience in the country allowed her to polish her French, explore more of the countryside and learn how to manage on her own an ocean away.

Her intense five-week class in Montpellier focused on grammar and oral skills. Her classmates came from places like Spain, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Lithuania, and French was the only language they spoke in common, making mastery of the language all the more critical.

Like the summer session at St. Norbert, summer classes in France are more relaxed and have fewer students. Yeskel says her professors were very helpful and her residence hall was much like Sensenbrenner Hall. She estimated 120 students on campus, which made class excursions to local attractions fun and intimate.

Over the course of the summer, Yeskel developed expertise in more than the language. She also became expert at getting around the city and found some great “estivals,” or festivals, including Friday wine tastings hosted by local wine producers, open-air markets, concerts and other cultural festivities. And while she missed the Fourth of July on American soil, she experienced Bastille Day on July 14, a celebration of the French Revolution complete with fireworks, music and a parade.

To top it all off, she was in Europe during the World Cup. Lauren says the excitement and energy were infectious, especially since Montpellier is close to Spain.

Yeskel calls her experience an epic adventure and hopes to return to Europe someday. For anyone planning to follow her to France, she says the food is fantastic. Her recommendation: “Try everything!”

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