UNK senior Raven Stewart went on the adventure of a lifetime this summer, leaving the familiarity of Nebraska behind to explore numerous European countries.
The Ainsworth native and four fellow Lopers – including assistant professor Chris Jacobs – spent a month in France through a study abroad program organized by the Department of Modern Languages. They took classes at a university in Lyon and used their free time to visit historic locations and learn more about the country’s amazing culture.
We asked Stewart, a modern languages major with an emphasis in Spanish translation and interpretation and a minor in French, a few questions about this unforgettable experience.
Tell us about the trip. What things were you able to do?
The trip was packed full of adventures, learning experiences and studies. Our first weekend in France, we visited various sites in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe and the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. During our studies, we were able to venture to different places like Vers-Pont-du-Gard, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Annecy and Vienne. Finally, we ended up in Geneva, Switzerland, where we had some incredible food. All of the places we visited were full of history and culture, and we were fortunate enough to have some great francophone tour guides.
What was your favorite part?
Personally, my favorite part was visiting Annecy, a quaint little town that sits on a gorgeous lake. We got to see some historic sites and have a francophone guide lead us through the city. After, the girls and I had some good food at a local restaurant and enjoyed the beach.
Is there anything about France that surprised you?
I was surprised at how many people are willing to make conversation with you randomly. I made some good friends in Paris after a night out, and going to town you would have some interesting conversations with people on the street or in the shops.
As a college student, how valuable was this experience?
I think this trip really helped me gain independence and pushed me out of my comfort zone in a way that I haven’t experienced before. I had to use the skills that I acquired in class to navigate daily life and be immersed in a different culture.
Before I went to France, I was very self-conscious about my abilities in the language and I felt very cut off from French culture, but after a couple of weeks in the country, I can see how it benefits me to be immersed in the language, which I advanced greatly in. It also helped me gain an appreciation for my career by showing me the people I will have the chance to aid and speak to.
Did you get to visit any other countries?
Personally, I am sending this information from a desk in Sweden, where I am visiting my boyfriend and his family. Over this summer, I have been in England, France, Switzerland and Sweden.
Why should other students study abroad?
I think other students should study abroad because it gets them out of our small university and gives them a chance to experience new cultures away from daily distractions. I think it is a great learning experience not only for school, but also for life, travel, culture, connections and adulthood.
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