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Blogger Abroad: Colby Arrives in France


“Your Story on the Rails” summer blogger Colby has left the sunny shores of Hawaii for a study abroad experience by the shore of Lake Annecy in France, and he’s bringing us along! In his words:

Hello! My name is Colby and I’m currently studying French language at the University of Hawaii.

I went to France to study the language so I can hopefully become more fluent and to also finish up my degree there. My study abroad program is partnered with IFALPES (Institut Français Des Alpes) in Annecy, France. Annecy is located in the East of France, just on the border of Switzerland and Italy.

When my group and I reached Annecy, we were jet-lagged, tired, and hungry, but that did not stop my professor from giving us a mini walking tour of the city. Annecy is a rather small city, Honolulu is larger, à mon avis. My professor showed us the main areas of the city, which included the train station, the old city (Vieille Ville), and the “Beach” which would become our meeting place for the weeks to come to discuss our lives and our research projects. After the tour, we were picked up by our host families and taken home where we would live for the next 5 weeks.

At IFALPES, I had a class everyday for about 4 hours, which was very language intensive and that was absolutely the best experience!

In France, the French language levels for non-native speakers range from level A1 – C2, A1 being beginner and C2 being next to fluent. I was placed into B2 or Intermediate/Advanced level.

The main focus of our class was conversation and this was my favorite part of my whole experience! Back at my university, our upper-level classes are conducted in French, but I think because English still plays a role in our class, we use it rather often. At IFALPES though, because our sole reason is to study French and because our professors are native French speakers, it’s refreshing to be able to only communicate in French.

Another amazing part of my experience was meeting so many other international students at IFALPES! I was able to meet friends from Sweden, Switzerland, Kuwait, Spain and the Dominican Republic. For the next several weeks, we would be going on excursions and hanging out almost everyday!

More blogs to come on my other adventures going down south to Montpellier and into the mountains on Mont Blanc in Chamonix!

Have language skills ever been the common connector between you and new group of friends? Tell us about it @LeadWLanguages on social media!

Has Colby’s trip inspired you to begin or to continue learning French so that you, too, can explore the Alpes like a local? Check out our Lead with French page for college programs, scholarship opportunities, videos, and other study abroad blogs by students.

Colby Annency Collage