IES Abroad: What fueled your decision to study abroad in Paris?
Carol Stamatis (CS): At age 14, I accompanied my grandparents’ return to Greece to see family for their 50th wedding anniversary. We stopped in Paris and Rome on the way. It was a life-changing experience to discover my European roots and a world I determined to explore.
Bill Pendergast (BP): I studied French for two years in high school and another two years in college. I thought I was really good at the language and a year in Paris would top it off! As it turned out, I was barely conversant in the Parisian dialect, but in fact the Paris year did top it off when I began dreaming in French. A bonus was that I escaped winters in South Bend and Chicago.
IES Abroad: What was your ‘aha’ moment/memory during study abroad in France? How did your thinking, actions, or plans change?
CS: Many moments were knit together by the underlying experience of intensive language acquisition that proved the key to immersion in a new culture. For me, language fluency provided a path to French university courses, breaking barriers of communication with locals, and ultimately determined the course of my life.
BP: There was no ‘aha’ moment, but I experienced major changes in perspectives and plans during the year. I changed my undergraduate major and my plans for post-graduate study. My political perspectives and mindset evolved dramatically. I attribute this to the dynamic cultural, social and political context of Paris and our close-knit group of students at IES Abroad.