European Studies Associate seeks to enrich education through cultural experience
By Delanie Villanueva
European Studies Associate is a program that offers ELAC students an opportunity to study abroad.
The program is offered in Paris, France. In this program, students will take language classes to learn French and get exposed to the Parisian lifestyle.
In addition to the language classes, the students experience an assortment of activities, exclusive to the country such as museum tours and lectures.
Professor Lynn Vogel-Zuiderweg is the ESA group leader for ELAC. Every year, Vogel-Zuiderweg accompanies the students on their trip as a chaperone and a leader to Paris.
She said that this program is beneficial because it exposes students to life outside of Los Angeles and lets them know that there is more to life.
Vogel-Zuiderweg enjoys seeing how the students begin to become accustomed to the Parisian culture and how their confidence in the French language grows.
A typical day for students studying abroad is language class in the morning, an afternoon activity, and an evening activity. Afternoon activities range from a variety of things.
They can be from culture walks, museum tours and monument visits.
Evening activities include watching performances, professional chef classes, presentations and lectures.
The programs even includes weekend or day trips to other cities.
The program in Paris includes a two-day trip to Fontainebleau and Reims and Champagne country.
A weekend trip to Normandy is also included. There are a few days when there are no activities planned so students can explore the city on their own.
There are many reasons students want to study abroad. Students may want to have a break from life in Los Angeles and see what else the world might have to offer.
“I had always been interested in French culture and it had been my childhood dream to visit Paris,” Mercedes Romero, who studied for a month in Paris, said.
“The moment I found out about the ESA program, I set my mind to save enough to go. It also helped a lot that the class I took abroad counted towards my transfer prerequisites.”
There have also been some students who have enjoyed the program so much that they decided to go more than once. Christian Jimenez has studied abroad three times in Paris.
He went back because he missed the city and how the experience abroad helped him grow.
“My advice to people is to seek out as much information as they need.There is financial help available in a lot of places people never check, and many resources for people to get what they need. Talking to people always helps,” he said.
Jimenez’s love for the ESA program motivated him to start a side business/blog called “The Paris Connenxion” to help students study in Paris.
The website sells clothing, bags, phone cases and home decor with Paris themes.
Jimenez also uses it as a blog to share tips and experiences for studying abroad.
Professor Vogel-Zuiderweg enjoys seeing how much the students grow during the program.
“At first they might experience culture shock because of the new customs, but towards the end of the program I love seeing how they improve in the language and customs. They don’t even need my help at the end of the trip,” she said.
There are also similar programs being held in Salamanca, Spain and Kyoto, Japan this year through different programs.
Study abroad in Salamanca, Spain is being offered through International Education Study Abroad. The program to study in Kyoto, Japan is offered through IACE Travel.
Students who are interested in studying abroad should look out for signs around campus promoting the program or look up ‘study abroad’ on the ELAC website google custom search.
On the website you will find links to the different program and emails to the professors in charge.
Students can explore the different options and reach out to the professors.
The Financial Aid office has information about how to use your finical aid to finance the trip. Although the applications for this summer’s trip are closed, students can make it a goal to go next year.