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Kristin Stevenson

Flint MI
Majors: French and International Studies

Oh La Loire!
Nantes, France

La France… Where can I begin? I spent five months in the magnifique city of Nantes, a port city not far from the western coast of France. My experience there was so much more than I could have ever imagined it to be. Nantes is a lively city full of diversity and tradition. The more time I spent in the city, the more I felt myself engaging in and becoming a real part of life there. My favorite part about living in Nantes was my host family. They were absolutely amazing and welcomed me with arms wide open, easily making me feel right at home and helping me make the transition into French society. Our daily conversations helped my language skills grow immensely, especially our lively discussions every night at dinner. Lasting at least an hour, they were always entertaining, whether they consisted of serious debates or humorous stories. My host family was truly a blessing in my life.

Aside from my host family, life in France was just as superb. Whether it was eating lunch near the fountain at Place Royale in Nantes or visiting the castles of the Loire Valley, I have great memories to cherish forever. I made French friends through the weekly Franco-American conversation club offered by IES, my study abroad program. Thanks to my new French friends, I began to really live life as a resident, not a tourist. I adjusted to the city andintegrated myself into typical French student life by taking classes at the IES Center and the Université de Nantes. In addition to my classes, I was given a teaching internship where I taught English to children ages 6 to 7. I taught one-hour sessions, four times per week, and since I spoke mostly in French with the young kids, I was very fortunate to have another way to practice French in a professional setting. And, of course, living in Nantes was not all work. Apart from classes and my internship I was able to indulge in the region's savory gallettes, and taste different varieties of Muscadet (a well-known wine from the area), and learned to live life with a fervor I didn't know I had within me.