Travel Journal: France
Recently, one of the other 23 students participating in the Centre-in-Strasbourg program this spring penned what I believe may be the best Facebook status of the year. He wrote, “Just because it's study abroad doesn't mean you don't have homework.” There's no way for me to emphasize how true that is but I must try.
I know that many people believe that a semester abroad for a 21-year-old is a semester of vacation, but even in France we're taking Centre College classes from Centre professors. The workload and quality of these courses are on par with classes we'd take on campus. My French course is as tough as any other language class that I've had in my three years as a Centre student. In Humanities 290: Questions of Travel, we've read three books, written a paper, taken a midterm, and prepared a separate 15-page paper over the last eight weeks. In my government class Construction of Europe, we've already taken two regular tests plus a midterm exam.
My point is that, although the classes are taught in a building overlooking Alsace, it's still real coursework for a real grade. The classes are interesting and relevant to our interests as travelers, but I still work as hard as I would if I were on campus.
While studying abroad with Centre, students aren't allowed to have any un-excused absences and we're not permitted to take any course on a pass-fail basis. We have 12 hours of classes each week and there are supplemental exercises such as visits to various art museums, tours of the Council of Europe and European Parliament, and day trips to places like Metz, Verdun, St. Odile, and Struthof. Plus, for students who spend weekends traveling around Europe, two or three days out of every seven are spent some place other than Strasbourg.
That being said, the coursework is manageable. While in Strasbourg, one doesn't have to worry about attending meetings for various clubs and campus organizations. In this way, studying has become the thing that reminds why I was selected for the Strasbourg program. Studying has become the thing that connects me to Danville, Kentucky.
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