Students studying French will have the opportunity to study abroad in Lille, France, May 31 through July 7.
Yann Opsitch, instructor of French, said the program developed because he had been thinking about it since he began teaching French. He and his wife used to take students to France almost every summer to do mission work, but he wanted to take students who would study French. Opsitch and his wife will be leading the group during the summer.
A French minor was added to the language department last semester, allowing students to take more French courses. Opsitch said the number of students taking French has increased since the minor was added.
“The logical thing with the minor is that, since you have that many hours to do advanced French, I always thought that it would be good to do at least a good portion of those courses in France,” Opsitch said. “Because, if you’re in the country, you see people, you talk to people, you’re immersed in the language.”
The program is open to students who have completed Intermediate French I and II. The course work over the summer will include six hours of advanced French.
“But it’s going to be a teaching that will be more based on visiting places, interaction with people, do reading, of course, but it’s going to be more an immersion-type class,” Opsitch said.
Lille is located in northern France. Opsitch said students will be staying in a brand-new youth hostel in the older part of the city.
“It’s a youth hostel, but very clean,” he said. “It’s got every thing you need. They can cook, they have a kitchen. It’s a good price, a very good price.”
Opsitch said, in addition to a weekend trip to Paris, they are planning to visit other areas in northern France and Belgium.
He said he believes the France trip will become a yearly Study Abroad event. He hopes the students will not only be able to “immerse” themselves in the language and culture, but also overcome stereotypes.
Chase Beakley, junior international studies major from Odessa, is signed up for the summer program in France.
“Language is a big part of global studies, and it’s kind of pointless to take a lot of language if you’re never going to bring it to speaking efficiency,” Beakley said. “And really the only way you do that is to go and force yourself to listen and understand and use it in real life and real time.”
Beakley said he hopes to have a fantastic experience and make job connections, as well as improve his language skills.
“I don’t have to be a wordsmith or a public speaker, but I’d like to be able to say that I can speak two languages,” he said. Â “And also, I think the more time you get to live somewhere where you’re not familiar with the culture or part of it, the better you are prepared for global studies. So that’s going to help me a lot.”
Excluding airfare, the cost of the program is $3,800. Students interested in the program can pick up applications in room 124 in the Hardin Administration Building.