Chloe Miller - 2014 Program Participant

Why did you decide to apply for an international program?

Originally, my sister went overseas and she had a great experience, so I wanted to have that too! I also thought it'd be useful in the long run to have a basic foundation in another language.

Feeding a monkey on Monkey Mountain

Le Montagne des Singes (Monkey Mountain)

Why did you choose Adolesco? 

A woman from my church used to work with the program and my family heard about it from her.

What was your favorite part about France?

I lived in eastern France, and I really liked the language and the mixture of French and German food they had there. I lived in the countryside, so it was absolutely beautiful, but close enough to a major town so that there were still a lot of fun things to do.

What made Adolesco a unique exchange program? 

It was a two-way exchange program, but instead of both exchanges happening at the same time, the students stay together in both countries with each other. That helps them both learn a language and make an international friend.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

They kept in touch with the family I was staying with, as well as with my parents, to make sure that everything was going well.

How difficult was it to communicate with locals at first?

Pretty difficult. My vocabulary was almost nonexistent, but I learned a lot by hearing other people speak and understanding what they said.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

I wish I had acted more like myself. I'm pretty introverted, and it was often hard for me to fully put myself out there and take risks, especially in a country with people I didn't know that well who spoke a different language than me. Eventually, I got to know my exchange sister better and was able to speak more openly in French.

Cyclists before a bike tour in Alsace

Pre-300+ kilometers on bike through the Alsace

Describe your daily routine in France.

After waking up, my host family and I would all have breakfast together. Usually, my exchange sister's older siblings would be home from college on the weekends. We'd swim in the pool together or watch TV in French. Sometimes my host mother would have me read some of a book out loud to her to work on my accent and vocabulary. All the kids would help prepare lunch and dinner, and we ate every meal together. Everyone would help clean up after each meal, and then we'd sometimes play a game or just go to straight to bed.

What was your favorite activity outside the normal day-to-day schedule of your program? 

My program, Adolesco, pretty much had it set up so you live with a family for a few months. So there wasn't exactly a set schedule of activities; it was just normal everyday life in a different country. I definitely enjoyed it when my exchange sister and I went into Nancy, the closest major city, to go shopping.

How was your accommodation? What did you like about it?

It was a two-way exchange that allowed both students to live together for up to a year in both countries. I really liked that it was an immersion program which let you live in a normal (but foreign!) setting, and not just in large cities. It also lets you get to know people from other countries who you can keep in touch with.

What surprised you most about France?

What surprised me most was the amount of people who smoke in France. It was much more common to be out somewhere and see multiple people smoking than it would be in America.

What is one thing you wish you would have known before traveling to France?

I wish I had known that it's really important and helpful to put yourself out there and to get your hands dirty. It makes it much easier in the long run.

What do you feel the biggest benefit of traveling abroad is?

The experience. I was exposed to so many interesting things while I was there, things that I wouldn't have had the chance to see or do otherwise.

What was the biggest thing that you learned from your exchange program experience?

It's given me a foundation in French. I'm not fluent, but I'm able to carry on a conversation fairly easily. And, because French and Spanish are so similar, it's helped me in my Spanish classes back home! It's what's gotten me interested in languages as a whole.

Would you recommend Adolesco to others?

I would definitely recommend Adolesco to anyone who's interested in learning a new language. It's a wonderful experience and I'm really glad I did it.