Gina Grainda

I began studying French when I was eleven years old and continued throughout high school. When I arrived at UCLA, I knew this was something I wanted to continue and the French department was so supportive of my goals. I am physiological science major with a French minor – an interesting combination, I know, but the French department helped me organize my schedule and assured me that this was attainable.

One of my favorite experiences of college so far has been enrolling in classes for Travel Study in Paris, France. The five weeks of the program were some of the most formative and eye-opening of my life. Despite learning French for several years, I had never been to France (or any French speaking country, for that matter). The program included a homestay – an experience I found incredibly valuable and fun! Having the opportunity to live with a French family was very unique and I know I will keep in touch with my host mom.  The French department spent a significant amount of time planning and organizing for students to ensure the best study abroad experience.

Travel Study allowed me to engage deeply with Paris by fully immersing me in French language and culture. Using the city as my textbook, I was able to learn about France through experiences, observation, and conversations. As I progress to higher levels of French, I have appreciated my classes more due to the greater emphasis on culture and modern France. For me, learning French has provided me with a tangible skill that will always be relevant in an increasingly globalizing world. For as long as I can remember, going to France was my dream; I am grateful for the support and guidance from the French department who has helped me accomplish this and so much more.