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updated: 11/16/2012 10:15 PM

New French Study Abroad program to take students to Bordeaux

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COD News Bureau

Study Abroad participants will live, learn and study in Bordeaux, about three hours southwest of Paris, from June 29 to July 30. Mirta Pagnucci, assistant professor of French and Italian, and program director for the new French Study Abroad program, is pleased that the College is now offering a program for students who want to experience the French language and culture.

"Bordeaux is both beautiful and historic, and there are so many opportunities to explore the history and culture of France while also experiencing the dynamic life of the region," she said. "Studying, living and learning abroad are wonderful ways to learn a language and learn about a culture."

The new program joins Costa Rica, Spain and Japan as Study Abroad opportunities offered through the Field and Experiential Learning program. Pagnucci's interest in the Bordeaux region is personal as well as professional.

"We have made friends there and have developed professional relationships with educators at the University of Bordeaux," she said. "Students will stay in private homes in Bordeaux to immerse themselves in the language and culture. Students will learn many things about life in modern France, from different architectural styles to different life styles to different perspectives on the world."

In order to prepare participants, Pagnucci and the other directors conduct a two-day orientation at the College prior to leaving. Topics cover the essentials, like what to pack and how to handle medical issues or emergencies, as well as history, art, government and cultural differences. For example Americans are surprised that the French seem so serious and mistakenly believe that the French are less friendly.

"So many people don't understand why the French seem so serious. Americans are much more gregarious," she said. "What they don't realize is it's a difference in how Americans' behavior is different than someone else from a different culture."

Participants in the program will study French through the Alliance Franšaise de Bordeaux, earning up to four semester credits in French language and three semester credits in Humanities 1800, Culture and Civilization of France.

Studying abroad is not all classroom work.

Excursions to nearby museums, historic monuments and vineyards as well as sailing and French cooking classes round out the experience.

"In the nearly four weeks we spend there, we see and do as much as we can," Pagnucci said. "There are tours to nearby cities and many excursions in the Aquitaine area. Some may even want to venture south into Spain. We'll end by spending three days in Paris before we head home."

The advantages of studying abroad are enormous and can last a lifetime. Pagnucci spoke of a student she knew who had travelled abroad to Spain.

"Because he had lived abroad, this young man had a global view. He understood himself and how he related to those in another culture," she said. "He ended up being hired by a large international corporation. His experience gave him a way to stand out in the job market. Students who have this broader view often demonstrate to employers that they understand diverse populations."

The Study Abroad program costs $4,599 plus tuition. "This covers the airfare; excursions in the Aquitaine region, including the three days in Paris with museum passes; the homestay, with two meals per day; and the cost of the language classes," Pagnucci said. "Participants will travel with program directors who are familiar with the area and can facilitate the travel arrangements and situations as they arise. It's an experience you are not likely to get if you travelled on your own."

Applications are due no later than Feb. 1, 2013, and scholarships are available. For more information, call (630) 942-3116, email or visit the Study Abroad web site.