Instead of returning to Los Angeles for the spring 2014 semester, I will be living and studying as a Parisian in France. I first conceived of studying abroad after visiting many colleges during my junior year of high school and hearing all of them tout their programs during their campus tours. France was a natural choice for me because I have been taking French since my freshman year of high school and am pursing a double major in French and IRGB.
Last fall, I attended the study abroad fair to learn about (and decide between) USC’s three programs in France: Sweet Briar, Sciences Po, and USC Paris. All of the programs integrate students into French life with classes at French universities.
The Sweet Briar option places students in Paris’ renowned Latin Quarter for an entire year. Students live and study there and even have the option to work alongside their French peers.
The Sciences Po option places students at the prestigious Institut d’Etudes Poitiques in Paris’ historic 7th arrondisement. The school claims alumni such as Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, the current and former French presidents, respectively. At Sciences Po, students can take courses in International Relations, Economics, and Political Science.
Unlike the previous two programs, the USC Paris option places students in homestays with French families. Students take classes with other USC students at the ACCENT Center (a service provider that works with USC and several other top American universities to coordinate programming overseas) and with students
from around the world at La Sorbonne, the oldest French university. The course offerings range from French grammar to Art History to International Relations. To supplement the work in the classroom, USC and the ACCENT Center organize excursions around both Paris and France. For example, students spend a weekend in the south of France in Aix-en-Provence and see performances at L’Opera Garnier. Additionally, many classes leave the classroom to learn about topics on site. For example, the Art History course offered meets two days a week with one of those days being at one of Paris’ many museums. How cool would it be to learn about Leonardo DaVinci while looking at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre?!
Ultimately, I decided that the USC Paris program would be best for me because of the support provided to students by the ACCENT Center and the opportunity to take classes with students from both USC and around the world at La Sorbonne. However, only being a sophomore leaves me time to study abroad again and experience something completely different if I want!