Kelli Wick, Peer Advisor
In France, I studied French in the DeFLE program at the Université de Lorraine while au pairing for a lovely French family in a village of the Lorraine region. When I first arrived in France, I felt lonely as I knew few people and didn’t speak the language very well. That quickly evaporated, however as soon as classes started at the university where all of my classmates were French-languages learners from around the globe. My favorite class was Expression Théâtral, an improvisation class that helped me lose all of my shyness in speaking French.
In my spare time, I explored France with my host family and friends, from dog sledding in the Pyrenees Mountains to tasting foie gras at a gastronomique restaurant in Alsace, sightseeing in Paris to roaming the Christmas markets of Strasbourg. I enjoyed playing with the two children that I nannied, learning how to cook French cuisine, exploring local museums and opera house, and of course falling in love with French wine and cheese. I also enjoyed the occasional side trips to Iceland, Ireland, Switzerland, and Austria.
In the spring, I studied with CIEE in Dakar, Senegal. With this incredible program, I studied culture, development, and languages, with all of my classes were in French. My favorite part of classes in Dakar was when we went beyond the walls of the classroom. For example, in my Public Health class, we went to the Fatick region of Senegal to survey for malnutrition in children. My Society and Culture class went to a daara to interview a marabou about his practice in teaching the talibé.
Senegal proudly calls itself the country of Taranga, hospitality, of which I was most definitely a benefactor. I lived with an incredible host family of 20 people. Every day I was greeted when I got home from classes by the 8 energetic kids in my family. I stayed up into the early hours of the morning with my host brothers and sisters and I had a great host grandma who was queen of the household. Everyone in Senegal was so warm and welcoming.