ACCENT Community College Scholarship: Parisian Picnics and “The French Method”

Today, we check back in with ACCENT Community College Scholarship recipient Hunter Dickey, who recently returned home from a summer term in Paris. Hunter reflects on the academic and personal benefits of studying abroad and how adopting the Parisian lifestyle has helped him both in and out of the classroom.

Bonjour! I spent this past July studying French language, phonetics, and culture at Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne in Paris. Looking back on the trip, I cannot believe that we were able to take so many classes a day and still have time to walk down Parisian streets by the early afternoon, exploring monuments, finding coffee shops, and participating in various other typically “French” activities. It was an incredible opportunity to learn more about the country with every new architectural marvel we found, or conversation that we had.

Upon reflection, the quality of the instruction that I received every day was the facet of my student experience that truly blew me away the most. The intentionality and accountability that my professors brought to class always left me excited to learn and motivated me to really adopt the French language as my own. These professors had a style that was simply, as my friends and I affectionately coined it, “the French method”. Deviating from the standard U.S. lecture and note-taking system, my professors approached each lesson with a heavy reliance on direct application of new ideas, student participation, and repetitious repetition. Working so closely with native French speakers was truly humbling and expanded my appreciation for their culture all the more. With every new course came diverse lessons, ample mistakes, and more than enough room for growth as a linguist and a student.

Outside of class, there was one activity that defined my adventure in France: the picnic. This one simple and often undervalued pastime acted as the foundation of practically every friendship I made while abroad. If you ever plan to study abroad in France, know that the picnic is the go-to for meeting new friends and strengthening relationships. Moreover, in choosing how to spend your time and money abroad, the picnic is second to none; eating outdoors is one of the most affordable Parisian meal practices — with multiple people contributing, you will feast on French cuisine while saving incredible sums of money — what a treat! If you need even more convincing, picnicking will bring down cultural barriers around a diverse meal, teach you how to cook for others, and find you sitting in the middle of Paris, surrounded by French people and, oftentimes, incredible landmarks (there are dozens of beautiful parks around the city, most of which have a view of the Eiffel Tower.)

When I decided to go to France, I did not realize how holistic my personal growth would be as a result. Studying abroad was an opportunity that I am so humbled to have been a part of, and one that has changed the trajectory of my educational path. The friendships that were sparked on this adventure abroad spread across the globe and tell of an incredible international story, one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. This all being said, if you ever find yourself contemplating whether or not you should try to study abroad, find a way and go!~Hunter Dickey, CCCD in Paris with Orange Coast College

ACCENT is proud to support the Community College Scholarship as part of our commitment pledge to IIE Generation Study Abroad, a nationwide effort to help more U.S. students gain international experience through study abroad programs.

Studying abroad is an amazing way to expand your horizons and experience growth. Use the ACCENT Program Finder to take your first step into a new and exciting journey: http://accentintl.com/find-a-program/.