Shops along Loire River were a favorite

I had spent so many years learning about the language and the culture, and now, I was experiencing it on my own.

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Published: Wednesday, 03 Aug 2022 Author: Corrine Richland

Close up of Corinne in Tours, FranceOver the summer, I was able to travel to France with the Department of Romance and Classical Studies for most of the month of July. While there, I was able to visit a variety of notable landmarks and truly experience their cultural value.

One of the most notorious landmarks that France has to offer is the Mont Saint-Michel; it is an island located in Normandy, France that served as an abbey for monks during the Middle Ages. For years I had seen pictures of the site on the internet, and during my summer study in France I was able to experience it in person. After climbing up the steep-pathway and immeasurable amounts stairs, I was able to look over one of the balconies and see the surrounding area, and since the tide was low, I got to see the infamous salt marshes. The view went beyond what was captured in photos, and for me, it was a testament to how diverse the true beauty of nature can be. The one thing that I did enjoy the most about the Mont Saint Michel was the architecture. Not only was the site built upon a unique area, but it also had incredible designs. Each room inside the abbey had its own appeal, and I found it all to be incredibly aesthetically appealing.

Building being renovated in Tours, FranceAnother one of my favorite locations while I was abroad in France was the Loire River. The Loire River is what separates the city of Tours into an upper and lower half. I crossed the Loire River quite frequently, most often when I went to class, but aside from that, the Loire River had many attractions, such as the Guinguette (an outdoor bar popular with many of the students at the Institute of Tourraine), the Ile Simon (an island on the river that could be accessed via a bridge), and the Rue Nationale (a street that also served as a major shopping hub).

I spent a lot of time visiting the stores located on Rue Nationale; one of the ones I visited the most was ‘La Boite à Livres’. ‘La Boite à Livres’ was a bookstore, and what I think had the most impact on my knowledge of the French language while studying abroad. The books I bought there helped me understand French literature on a personal level that isn’t possible in lectures or homework assignments. It also a great insight into many of the Francophone cultural aspects and interactions.

This study abroad experience was an experience of a lifetime for me. It helped me advance my skills in the French language in an extremely interactive way. I also felt like being able to touch foreign soil and connecting with natives was just like living in a fairytale; I had spent so many years learning about the language and the culture, and now, I was experiencing it on my own.

I am truly grateful towards the Department of Romance and Classical Studies as well as MSU Education Abroad for helping me to gain these memories that will last a lifetime. I would also encourage anyone who is hesitant about study abroad to give it a shot, because these experiences and opportunities don’t come around very often and are worth every single effort.

Name: Corrine Richland
Status: Senior
Major: French
Hometown: Farmington Hills, Michigan
Program: Intensive French in Tours, France