Along the Beaches of Normandy


Credit: “Omaha Beach” by Anton Bielousov is licensed under  CC BY 2.0

This past July I studied abroad in Caen, France, a small city in the northwestern region of Normandy. For three weeks I was able to immerse myself with the locals and delve into the language and the long and important history of the region.

I had been eagerly looking forwards to this experience as I have traveled to France before but had mostly seen Paris and a few other small cities in the South. This experience was longer, academic, and eye opening.

I have studied French since the eighth grade and it is now my minor at Agnes Scott as well as my third spoken language. Studying this language is something I value culturally and globally in being able to communicate and learn from more people around this world. At the end of my studies, I took the DELF exam which is the French exam for non-native French speakers. I passed the B2 level meaning that if, in the future, I decide to pursue more education in France, I would be considered fluent enough to take French classes with no assistance. This has sparked my interest and curiosity in possibly completing a masters in France.

Apart from the language, I learned a vast amount about the culture and patrimony of Normandy. The program frequently took us to excursions around the city of Caen explaining how they rebuilt after World War II as well as showing us the important buildings and figures that withstood the war and are still standing to this day. They varied from family homes to the religious and impressive abbeys. Throughout it all, it was as if I was traveling back in time to the simpler countryside of France that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.

Credit “L’étrat” by Iara Moran is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Now that I’m back in the United States, I did have a bit of a cultural readjustment from simple things such as how strong the air conditioning is here, and also larger things such as the pace and enjoyment of life which seems much more rushed here. I enjoy sharing my experience with other students and faculty, especially those in my French literature class where we are reading about French Female writers and one in particular, Annie Erneaux, who is from Normandy and so my class in France studied her and her works greatly and now I can connect what I learn from both classes in France and back at Agnes Scott.

My love of the French language and culture will continue to grow as I am sure that in the future I will continue to visit the beautiful country and hopefully live and study there some for some time as well.


SUMMIT Learning Outcomes associated with this reflection:

  • 1. Identify, explain and analyze global themes, processes, and systems
  • 2. Demonstrate knowledge and skills essential for global engagement
  • 4. Communicate effectively through writing and speaking, especially across cultural or linguistic differences
  • 8. Identify and assess one’s values, interests, and abilities
  • 14. Practice continual improvement of one’s whole person and seek and utilize feedback

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