One of my regrets from my more youthful days is that I didn’t have a chance to study abroad. My college trajectory was…how should I put this? Fractured? Erratic? Let’s just say I transferred a couple of times and caused my parents no small amount of anxiety in the process. When I finally landed at a place where I was happy, and from where I’d eventually graduate, I only had 2 years of college left and didn’t want to spend part of that time abroad. I’d only just arrived – it seemed silly to leave so soon.
When it came time to plan my sabbatical, I figured I should try to find the experience I had to forgo in my 20s. I wanted something longer than a vacation, with the opportunity to immerse myself in a place and in a culture. So, in about a month’s time I’ll be heading to the Institut de Francais in Villefranche-sur-mer, on the French Riviera, for a 4-week intensive French language program. It is a program designed for adult learners, and students come from around the world. I’ll be living in shared student housing and attending class 8.5 hours a day. And I can’t wait.
I know most people wouldn’t choose to spend their vacation in language lab or doing homework, especially when the beaches of the Riviera are a few tempting kilometers away. But you’re talking to someone who used to start reading her textbooks weeks before school started. I honestly can’t think of a better way to spend the gift of time that my sabbatical offers.
So I’ve discovered my own version of a collegiate study abroad program. Unlike what I might have done when I was 20, I’m guessing this one will have more mature people. Oh, and much better booze.