Five University of Mississippi Students returned to the Oxford campus this fall enriched both academically and culturally, thanks to a monthlong French language study in Angers, France, a medieval city with modern amenities.
Ann Atkinson of Memphis, Tenn., Frazier Jenkins of Pearl, Cody LeBlanc of Long Beach, Sarah Morris of Montgomery, Ala., and Keizo Tadano of Oxford earned six hours of academic credit July 4-30 while studying at Catholic University of the West, or L’Université Catholique de l’Ouest, regarded as one of the most prestigious private universities in France.
“The study provided me with a travel adventure of a lifetime,” said Jenkins, a senior English major. “Overall, my experience was full of inspiration, mentorship and discovery that will help further define my goals.”
The students spent 20 hours a week in the classroom, covering French grammar and cultural material. They lived at the university in the city center, enjoying cobblestone streets and medieval castles, as well as excursions to prominent sites, including the chateaux of the Loire Valley.
They were accompanied during part of their sojourn by Anne Quinney, UM associate professor of modern languages, who has been leading study groups to France since 1996. This summer, she was based in Paris and responsible for students studying all over France. Studying abroad “expands a student’s horizon,” she said.
“It makes them think more critically about what they take for granted at home, both appreciating what may seem effortless in the U.S. and also gaining an appreciation for another culture’s habits and traditions, and it helps them feel independent and confident about living outside the U.S.”
LeBlanc said, “My college education will be enhanced by the knowledge I procured, the friends I met and the summation of my mind-opening experiences in France.” A sophomore French and international studies double major, LeBlanc is a member of the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.
Atkinson, a senior marketing major in the business school and member of the Barksdale Honors College, spent the fall 2009 semester in Paris studying French and European culture and history at the ISC Paris School of Management. The experience enhanced her desire to become fluent in French.
“I would love to have a career in marketing or accounting where I get to use my language skills, perhaps living in Europe,” Atkinson said.
Tadano, a retiree from Japan, is a senior English major.
“I came here to Ole Miss to study American history,” he said. “I came here after retiring from Japanese school, so I have no career plans. After graduating, I want to travel all over the world with my wife.”
His travel plans inspired him to learn the French language, which is why he took advantage of the study in Angers.
“I enjoyed the classes very much, and every day I could improve my French,” Tadano said. “Before going to France, I could not speak French at all, but now I can. I want to continue studying French.”
The Angers study was made possible through an arrangement with the UM Study Abroad Office and Catholic University. Each year, the office sends around 600 students abroad offering programs in more than 80 countries covering Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.
For more information, visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/study_abroad/.