As part of a summer travel study program, Joey Auer studied French in Paris and ended up celebrating Bastille Day.
by Kevin Sprague (UCLA 2018)
Student: Joey Auer, UCLA 2019
Major: Political Science
Program: French Language & Culture Summer Travel Study Program, Paris, France
Travel Study Program
This past summer I studied French in Paris. I had class every afternoon and when I wasn't in class, I spent most of my time exploring the city with my friends. There was so much to see, and not just in Paris! We also did an excursion to Versailles and the program took us to visit other regions of France, so we got to know more of the country.
Since I was a kid, I've always loved traveling, so going on a study abroad program seemed like the natural thing to do. Why not take advantage of the opportunity?
I found out about my particular program when I enrolled in French 1 last year. Our teaching assistant told us about an amazing travel study program where you live in Paris with a host family, learn the language and see Paris, which I always wanted to see — it sounded perfect.
Most enjoyable experiences
We were there for Bastille day, and being in a foreign nation for their national day was really interesting. The week before, we had a family dinner and my host sister explained to us the history of France and Bastille Day — I really enjoyed learning the true story of the holiday. I also loved going to Paris’s Fireman balls, where local fire stations hold huge parties to benefit their local communities. It was weird but fun to party in a fire station in France of all places.
Being in another country, I struggled with being surrounded by a foreign language. I also had issues with languages that weren’t French when I would travel around Europe on my time off , [when I went] to places like Germany or Italy. I wanted to communicate with people without burdening them, but it was difficult. Still, the hardest part was coming back!
Impact on career & education
In the future I hope to use French in my personal life and career. I started taking French here at UCLA and after this summer program, I’ve decided to add a French minor. I’ve also joined the French Club, since I’m really aiming for bilingual status and hoping to gain broader cultural competency while using French often.
Advice for UCLA undergrads
I would definitely, absolutely recommend this experience to any student. All of the study abroad programs here are filled with other UCLA students. If you’re scared or nervous, rest assured you will be part of a community.
There are so many programs studying so many disciplines in so many countries. An experience like this is a great stepping stone to combat nerves and push yourself. UCLA makes it easy and accessible to go abroad, so you have to go for it!