Dana, AUCP Marseille alum and Tulane University graduate, sent in this lovely post about her AUCP Study Abroad experience in Marseille.
« My four months at AUCP was the single most transformative experience of my life. Five years later, it’s hard to find a single facet of my life that has not been somehow affected by this experience! I chose the AUCP Marseille program on a whim; my university informed me that they were cancelling the program in Lyon that I had originally applied for, so I had two days to choose between AUCP Aix, AUCP Marseille, and one other program. I chose Marseille, on the hunch that it would be cool to learn some Arabic and give a unique spin on the French abroad experience.
Boy was I right! As soon as I arrived I fell in love with the ocean views and distinct architecture of the city. My host family’s apartment was steps away from Le Jardin du Pharo and La plage de Catalans, my daily walks to AUCP were dotted with ocean views and farmers’ markets, and my first day at AUCP made me feel right at home. The serious immersion environment in my classes and at home with my French speaking family gave me a headache at first, but quickly catapulted my language acquisition to new levels.
I met Abde my first week in Marseille, and we quickly fell in love and dated the entire four months I was there. He knew no English, and taught me most of the conversational French that I speak now. He was also originally from Algeria, so he loved the fact that I was learning about the Arabic language and culture. When I went to Morocco with AUCP, I was so fascinated by the comparisons of North African, French, and American cultures, and it allowed me to understand my own relationship with Abde even better. I left AUCP nearly fluent in French, and continued studying French and Arabic for the last two years of my bachelors before moving on to get a Masters in Near Eastern Studies and Arabic. Most importantly, my relationship with Abde continued to grow after I left Marseille, and we are now married!
AUCP broadened my horizons and introduced me to so many new things that I now hold dear. It got me started on the road to French fluency, which is now the principal language spoken in my home, and a language I speak fluently both in my personal life and at work. I currently live and work in Detroit, Michigan as the Bilingual Director of Golf Digest Planner and Tournament Shop at a company called J Ryder Group – I work with clients from the USA as well as Canada, so I use my French with all of my French speaking Quebec clients. I also privately tutor French in the evenings. I will forever be grateful for this amazing experience and can only hope other students get a chance to study abroad in a similar program, and come to understand the nostalgia pangs that can only come from missing that Mediterranean sunshine! »
Merci Dana for this lovely update!
We love hearing from our AUCP Alums – let us know what you’re up to!