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King University News :: King Students Spend January Term Studying in France

France was the destination for several King College students during King's January-term. Thirteen French and History students finished up their winter break with a twelve-day study abroad trip to Nice and Paris, France, which included day trips to both Monaco and Italy.

Students were accompanied by King faculty, Dr. Shannon Harris, associate professor of History, and Annie Rémillard, chair of the literatures and languages department and assistant professor of French.

This was a wonderful opportunity for King students to have a first-hand experience; to recognize and navigate through the differences of another culture, to not merely make their way through, but to thrive, said Dr. Harris. In an ever increasingly small world that is tied together on so many levels, students will need to translate, not only language, but also cultural difference. Whatever their profession of choice, whether students reside in their home town, or choose to live abroad, the ability to navigate cultural difference will be viewed as an asset by employers.

More than 25 percent of King students travel each year for study abroad, missions, class, and community service trips, a number on the rise as more and more students realize the value of a global perspective.

While in France several students studied intermediate French with a focus on survival French. The remaining students focused on the history and culture of France. Both courses utilized an immersion technique, taking student learning beyond the textbook or the classroom.

Learning through immersion is more than simply being in a different place, said Rémillard. Students actively utilized their skills in language and cultural awareness, learning more by experiencing things, going to restaurants, having to encounter and interact with the French people. One great test of their skills was a day-long treasure hunt throughout Nice in groups of two. It was truly one of the highlights of their trip.

I learned so much from this trip - being integrated into another culture forces you to come out of your comfort zone and navigate your way around, said Zach Irby, junior communications major and editor-in-chief for the Tornado Yearbook at King College. Having such a small group of students allowed Dr. Harris and Professor Rémillard to provide a great learning experience for all of us. We used the material we covered in class in real situations while on the trip.

While in Nice, France, students visited Eze village, a fortified medieval city with a protective wall. At the summit of the town there are spectacular 360 degree views between Monaco and St. Jean Cap Ferrat. Students also visited Cimiez, the first settlement in the Nice area by the Romans, Promenade des Anglais, les Baies des Anges, and the fruit flower market. They also strolled down Boulevard de Cimiez to the Chagall Museum, past the original holiday mansions of Russian and English aristocrats, who first settled in Nice to escape the northern winters.

Students took a day trip from Nice, France, to Italy by train to experience the town of Ventimiglia, located on the Italian Riviera. Students also enjoyed a second day trip to Monaco where they visited the Monaco Grand Prix track and the Port.

The last part of the study abroad trip was spent in Paris, France, where students visited The Louvre, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Latin Quarter, the Eiffel Tower, the Catacombs, the Arc de Triomphe, and a few ventured to Versailles .

It was a very positive experience for students on so many levels, not only learning to speak the language, but also learning about the culture, said Rémillard. Immersing one's self into another culture allows an individual to better understand his or her own culture. When people open themselves up to new experiences, they become enlightened about both themselves and the culture they live in daily. The result is increased global awareness of cultures.

A study abroad trip allows for a global classroom setting that is unique and exceptional, said Dr. Harris. You can have discussions based on information from a book, but to talk about it as you live it is another level of complexity and understanding. It isn't just about having fun, but pushing your personal boundaries, and learning that you can navigate in a big city. We want students to think about the beauty of the land, the history by which they are surrounded, and how it is incorporated into modern culture. Walking on medieval ruins, witnessing amazing architecture and art, hearing language, experiencing different food, and culture - these lived experiences cannot be replicated in a traditional classroom. Professor Rémillard and I believe this trip was a transformative experience, for both us and our students.