Kamal Kadiri - 2014 Program Participant

International students in Biarritz, France

A group selfie of Kamal and his friends during their last night in Biarritz

Why did you choose to study abroad?

It is my belief that when one is studying a foreign language it’s best to visit and learn the foreign language in the country of origin, where the language is the native tongue. I chose to study French abroad in Biarritz, France so I could imbibe the full francophone experience and culture, while simultaneously learning the native language.

Why did you choose Biarritz in particular? What did you like about the city?

I chose to study in Biarritz as this was the main location offered in France by SPI Study Abroad. I read about Biarritz, the city's warm ambiance for tourism, its delightful french culture, history, and beautiful seaside. Biarritz has French as its native tongue and is very easy to navigate. The city itself is very quaint. 

Why did you select SPI Study Abroad over other high school study abroad organizations?

I chose SPI Study Abroad because it was a convenient and fun summer program, but it also had depth for learning and self effacement. SPI participants could freely be immersed in the culture of their new language. I also wanted to share this experience with students who shared the same love of learning the French language and culture in a French province.

What was your accommodation like in Biarritz? What was the best part?

My roommate and I shared a bedroom and bathroom. The best part about sharing a room and amenities was that it made us feel very independent and we grew very close. 

What was a normal day like as a high school student in Biarritz?

On a normal day, our host father would wake my roommate and I up around 7 a.m. He was wonderful as he would make breakfast and walk us to the language school down the street. At around 12:30 p.m., when the school day was finished, we would usually wander around the town of Biarritz exploring its vast Basque culture. 

Street clown in San Sebastian, Spain

A selfie with a street clown during the group's day trip to San Sebastian

What was the most memorable experience you had while studying abroad?

The wonderful friends I made, and the trip to San Sebastian, Spain. 

What advice would you give to other high school students interested in studying abroad with SPI?

If you truly want to learn and understand a foreign language and be immersed its culture, going to a place where the language is spoken natively yields the quickest results. It is also more fun and the cultural experience makes learning easier.  

What makes Biarritz such a great place to learn French?

Biarritz was the ideal place to learn French because it had a really warm, vibrant, and open-minded community. The town was small enough, and I got accustomed to navigating the streets very easily. The seaside was beautiful and relaxing; my friends and I spent a lot of time there. The SPI guides had set out an endless list of activities. I don’t remember ever running out of things to do.

How has studying abroad in high school impacted your life?

This experience really expanded my worldview. After having experienced traditional French culture, I’m more in love with the culture and people. My spoken French has also improved tremendously and my accent is much better. It was a positive learning experience for me, with a great impact on my academic learning of the French language, especially the modes of everyday communication. I continue to pursue my studies in French in an advanced French class at my high school. 

Study abroad students in Biarritz, France

The first day of Kamal’s stay in Biarritz

If you could change one thing about your program, what would it be?

Elongate the length of the program by two weeks. A four weeks stretch program would be apt.

Would you recommend your SPI Study Abroad program to others?

I would definitely recommend the Biarritz summer program to other students, and I already have done so. It was a brilliant program. The SPI directors were very friendly, helpful, and the activities were endless. It was also a great opportunity for me to meet other young people, listen to their experiences and stories, and also share mine with them. The academic experience was awesome, and it has contributed immensely to my advancement in my learning and understanding of the French language.