Three Northwestern State University students are spending their spring semester abroad at Université D’Angers in France where they hope the experience of living abroad will enhance their coursework in hospitality management and tourism. University D’Angers is the third second largest hospitality school in the world.
Alexander Anderson of Pineville, Hannah Haigh of Robeline and Savanah Meredith of Haughton will begin classes later this month. The classes will be taught in English, but all three hope to improve their French language skills and learn to adapt to a different culture through immersion.
Anderson, a senior, hopes to gain a better view of different cultures, history, language and cuisine.
“Language and communication, tourism and culture studies are the classes that I will be taking,” he said. “This will be a whole new world with different people and way of life.”
“I hope to gain more knowledge about the culture, learn how to adapt in a completely different environment, hopefully learn a few things about myself, learn some French, and — fingers crossed — figure out what I want to do for a career,” said Meredith, a junior. “I have never travelled outside of the country, which is why I have always been intrigued by the idea of studying abroad. I have always wanted to travel as I was never able to growing up. I believe traveling is an experience needed in order to become a more well-rounded individual.”
“I hope to learn much about the French culture and how they live,” said Haigh, a sophomore. “My goal in life has always been to travel and broaden my horizons because life is short and there is so much to learn. I will be taking courses in French culture and language, Loire Valley Castles, Food Culture Management, marketing wine and related products, and tourism destination.”
Haigh was born in England and has visited that country many times as well as visiting Paris.
“My family and I have always traveled, and I absolutely love it,” she said. “I have always known that traveling the world is what I want to do, and knew hospitality management and tourism was the perfect major for me. I have always been told that talk is cheap, and if you want to do it then do it. If you get the opportunity to go somewhere to learn something new, never hesitate because you will regret it in the long run. I know that this Study Abroad Program will be very rewarding in every aspect of my life, and I am really looking forward to it.”
“We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity these students are taking advantage of,” said Valerie Salter, HMT instructor. “I am planning for them to Skype with my study tour prep class on a weekly basis and also plan on creating a blog so that they can update and provide vlogs throughout their experience there.”
Travel experiences available to students through the HMT program are invaluable in training them for the industry, Salter said.
“Students will be immersed in French culture, study European tourism, travel on field trips to Loire Valley destinations and take French language courses,” Salter said. “In addition, they will be centrally located in France and able to explore major tourism destinations on their own. This immersion and coursework provide our students with real world and first hand tourism knowledge that will give them a marketable advantage upon graduation.”
Salter said HMT faculty plan to continuing their partnership with Université d’Angers to receive French students and send NSU students to France again in Spring 2017. She has worked with colleagues in NSU’s Department of English, Foreign Language and Cultural Studies to create more study abroad opportunities for students.
“We are certainly interested in any study abroad opportunities that enrich our students’ college careers and their marketability,” Salter said. “I am aware of agreements that are already in place between NSU and the University of Valencia in Spain, and I plan to start checking into placing students there. We hope to add more study abroad destinations in the near future.”