Franky Quinonez, Peer Advisor
Studying in Vichy, France was an experience that I will never forget. I was there for an entire academic year and it was one of the best decisions I have made thus far. I made my decision to study in Vichy based on the fact that I had already taken some French language courses and because the program they offered filled my academic needs. Before going to France, I had never travelled outside of the United States and so this trip was very exciting for me. In fact, I purposely booked a flight that had an 18 hour lay-over in Reykjavik so that I could check out some of Iceland before flying into Paris. (Something I definitely recommend, if you are up for it.) Iceland, in case you were wondering, is in fact very cold. So I had to buy warmer clothes but other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed that decision.
Vichy is a small tourist town located in the Auvergne region of France and is a three hour train ride south of Paris. Vichy is famous for its geothermal waters and the town earns a lot of revenue from the products that they make with it. People also claim that the water has healing properties and that it can cure certain stomach conditions. It tastes funky at first but you get used to it. The public spring for the water was right next to my university, L’Université Pole Lardy, where I studied French language and business. The French language courses were VERY helpful in learning the language. As was staying in France for nine months. Before arriving in France, I did not speak very much French but now I am almost confident enough to say that I am fluent. As for the other courses that I took, compared to CSU, they varied in difficultly and were 2-3 hours longer than the average CSU class. Despite the long class time, the coursework allowed me enough time to travel Europe and to socialize as often as I wanted.
I did not anticipate traveling as much as I did but I ended up visiting a bunch of countries during my education abroad experience. Including; Spain, Italy, the UK, and Croatia. Yes, Croatia was very cool. Traveling throughout Europe proved to be not nearly as expensive as I thought it would be. Depending on the destination and with proper planning, I managed to fit in some very fun trips. Plus if I ever wish to travel through Europe again, I have made enough friends out there that I will always have a place to stay. In fact, the best part about studying in France was getting to know the people in my program. It was not hard to talk to anybody because everybody was excited to be studying abroad and were eager to make travel buddies. I made some very lasting relationships while in France and connected with people in a way that I do not think happens to a lot of people. Everyone there came together in one place from different parts of the world at a time in our lives when our youthful aspirations were still very present and thus sparked creativity and inspiration among us all. It was an amazing time and I am incredibly lucky to have had an experience that started with feelings of hopeful excitement and ended with heartfelt goodbyes.