By Katy TerBerg
The French have a term for absolute happiness as a philosophy of life: joie de vivre. An exultation of spirit comes in many forms, but Erin Frame, a French major at WMU, finds her joie de vivre by immersing herself in the French culture.
For four weeks this past summer, Frame was part of a faculty-led study abroad program in Lyon, France. During that period, she stayed with a family, studied, explored the city and attended the Institut de Langue et de Culture Françaises – Université Catholique de Lyon.
“This French language and culture study abroad worked out perfectly, and being faculty-led made it all the better. I’ve studied French for many years, but I knew in order to gain fluency and truly experience the culture, I needed to go to France,” said Frame.
The Foreign Languages Study Abroad program to France is one of many currently offered by WMU. The Department has 12 faculty-directed study abroad programs, and more than a dozen exchange programs in China, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, Quebec, and Russia.
During her stay in Lyon, Frame focused her energy on “exploring the city,” but made sure she had her work done. Frame studied 1-2 hours every night to accomplish the academics portion of her study and attended classes 17-20 hours per week.
“The institute where I studied was very nice and I learned a lot,” she said. “However, I learned the informal language, socializing, youth culture, and family dynamics from staying with a host family. There is nothing else comparable to the cultural exposure you get from staying with a French family.”
Frame’s love of French culture, food, music, and art was magnified after her stay in Lyon. “It’s really a great city; very rich with history and culture. It was a good fit for me because Paris can be a little overwhelming at times, and doesn’t always give you the true French culture. Lyon was ‘true France,’” she said.
Frame highly recommends the study abroad program, recounting her experiences as “fantastic.”
Hear from other students about WMU’s Study Abroad experience in France:
Haenicke Institute for Global Education link for Study Abroad