Lori Elder - 2013 Program Participant

Lori Elder, originally from Lubbock, Texas, is a May 2014 graduate of Texas A&M University. Her study abroad program was a life-changing event in many ways, and she is excited to share about her experiences in Paris in hopes of persuading others of the importance of living and studying abroad.

Eiffel Tower Overlooking the Seine River
Eiffel Tower Overlooking the Seine River.

What made you choose ISA over other international education program providers?

I chose ISA over other study abroad programs primarily because my sister had studied abroad with ISA in Morocco and enjoyed every aspect of her trip. Also, ISA looked like the best value for the experience you were getting. They offered excursions almost every weekend to different areas of France and offered some smaller excursions to different locations within Paris during the week.

Their staff was friendly and helpful as I applied to the program and readily answered any questions I had. I also liked that ISA offered homestays with French families and did their best to match me with a family that fit my personality.

You’re from Texas A&M, what advice would you give to other Texas A&M students about to study abroad in Paris?

I would tell A&M students who choose to study abroad in Paris to be sure and stay with a French family if at all possible. It is almost impossible to be immersed in the French language as a student in Texas, so it is doubly important for Aggie students to stay with a French family while in France. In a homestay, you are forced to speak and listen to the French language while at dinner and conversing with your host family--and you'll never forget the delicious French food you eat while you're there!

Why was Paris the best place to study abroad in France?

Paris is the best place to study abroad in France because it is the cultural center of both France and the francophone world. In the afternoons after class I would go to different museums--many of them at a discount or free with my student ID--and look at priceless artifacts from every corner of the globe.

There is something for everyone in Paris.In the summertime there is a city-wide music festival for music lovers, summer sales for shoppers, boulangeries and patisseries for gourmets, Roland-Garros and Le Tour de France for sports fans, and historic art and architecture on every corner for those with artistic sensibilities.

During your program, what course did you enjoy most?

I enjoyed all of my classes in Paris. My French classes were especially fun because they were so challenging, and I could see and hear myself improving as I talked with my host family and people in the city. I also really enjoyed my arts class because the city was our classroom. My professor would walk us to a certain part of the city each day and just talk about the site/museum/artwork. I did not have a background in art history, and it was a special treat to get to learn so much from a specialist while looking at the real thing instead of a picture in a textbook.

Now that you are home, and have graduated from university, how would you say study abroad has impacted your life?

My study abroad experience impacted my life in many ways. I gained a more global perspective that has aided me both personally and professionally. My trip made my study of the French language and culture come alive and gave me real-world experience working with different cultures and working in a different language. I would go back in a heartbeat!