For as long as I can remember, I’ve been mesmerized by all things French; their language, cuisine, and their distinctly chic simplicity speak to me in ways very few other things can. My dreams of experiencing these exoticisms first-hand have always seemed distant and unreachable due to my relentlessly tight budget, until now. With the help of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, I hope to overcome my financial encumbrances and spend a semester abroad amongst the people who have inspired me all my life.
I’m not exactly sure when my fascination with France sparked into existence, just that I begged for Muzzy tapes every Christmas and birthday, and requested short, French-style haircuts even before I started Kindergarten. I’ve been a Francophile from the start. My passion has only grown since then, though my savings account has not followed suit. Paying my way through college has stretched me to my financial limits, and to be frank, the only way I can cover the cost of studying abroad is to receive a substantial allocation of scholarship funds. Knowingly, I’ve been striving since high school to improve my chances of eligibility by making first-rate grades, studying French language and culture, and anything else I could think of to get closer to my goal. The Gilman Scholarship would defray such a large percent of the cost, that it has become my most essential target. Moreover, AIFS will grant me an additional $500 towards my program, provided that I’m selected for Gilman, escalating its significance further still.
In lieu of the “City of Light”, I’ve taken interest in a less conventional option. The AIFS Study Abroad at the Private “Collège International de Cannes”, in Cannes, France offers the most intriguing and multi-faceted program in the Francophone world. As a French major, most any program would offer classes applying directly to my major, but the atypical milieu and multifarious supplementary learning activities offered by the AIFS Cannes Program could not be rivaled.
In the afternoon hours, an optional conversation class is offered for students, like myself, who want to further their auditory and oral aptitudes. This course would be perfect to explore the differences between spoken and written styles, in order to clean up my French. Also, it would be a wise opportunity to overview the appropriate ways to communicate with locals, in order to avoid in-practice embarrassments. More notably, the “Échange-Langues” club offered on campus would pair me up with local “Cannoises”, who are interested in learning English and teaching French. For 6 to 8 hours a week, we would rendezvous, not only exchange languages, but to share cultural knowledge as well. Making friends with residents who know the area would be of unparalleled assistance as I learn my way around Cannes. Furthermore, I would maintain email correspondence with my partners, to continue practicing, even once I’ve returned home.
The Collège is situated on the edge...