Valley students see Paris, see France

Do you know what you’ll be doing with your vacances d’ete? 

by Jordan Utley-Thomson and Edward Ruano, Staff Writers

The European Studies Association grants Valley College students an opportunity to enrich their education and cultural awareness this summer during their 2014 Summer in Paris program.

For an entire month, students who enroll in the study abroad program will be treated to the innards of France’s City of Light. Activities include a visit to the Chateaux of the Loire Valley, an evening at the Garnier Opera House, an excursion to the Palace of Fontainebleau and more.

“Just to be in a place that’s so much different from the U.S.: everything about it is completely different,” said undecided major Julie Chang. “Being around people who think differently [is] exciting.”

The program leader is Valley’s own French instructor, Dominique Merrill. Both a native French speaker and born in Versailles, instructor Merrill has taught the language for more than 40 years. This will be her ninth year as Valley’s program leader to France.

“I’ll tell you what my favor thing is: seeing the absolute wonder in the faces of my students when they see the Eiffel Tower . . . or are just enjoying walking in the streets for the first time,” said Merrill. “Their enthusiasm is so contagious that it never ceases to make me happy . . . I don’t get tired of it, because I see it through their eyes for the first time.”

The program’s base price is $3,250; which includes French civilization and survival French courses, as well as the option to live with either a family or in a twin dormitory. A meal plan is also included. Academic credit from 6 to 8 units can be earned.

For an extra fee of $4,200, there is the option to take expanded French language courses at the Institut Catholique de Paris  along with the civilization class and the meal plan, family or dormitory combination. Group airfares are $1,595, and a single dorm room supplement is $450. All price options include a transit pass with unlimited use.

Valley is just one of many colleges to partake in the study abroad program. San Jose State University, San Diego State University, CSU San Bernardino, City College of San Francisco, Los Angeles City College and East Los Angeles College are going together to form the European Studies Association.

The ESA stresses applicants to apply early, as space is limited. The program can include about 100 students. Applications will be accepted as early as Nov. 1 and must be mailed to the ESA at 424 Dorado Terrace, San Francisco, CA 94112. A 2-percent early payment reduction is available to students who pay all fees by March 1.

For more information, attend one of the informational meetings in Foreign Language 102. Two more are scheduled for the remainder of this year on Nov. 16 and Dec. 14 respectively. The meeting time is noon to 2 p.m. Three more meetings for 2014 are TBA.

“I think [the culture] will open [students] minds up to the world around them, because people who have never been around the world … don’t know that cultures are different,” said nursing major Hector Bocanegra. “The world gets a little bigger when you travel.”

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