Students from ABAC found out France is more than croissants and the Eiffel Tower this past May. It’s a vast country with a complex history spanning thousands of years. I was one of the lucky ones that got to participate in this Study Abroad experience.
The class watched a series of films about both world wars. Each student decided on a topic to research pertaining to the films. We had a writing and communication major research wartime communications. A nursing major studied healthcare on the battlefield.
Everyone had a unique perspective on the new world we were all experiencing.
I studied the way music affected both wars. Every museum we visited was an opportunity for me to find any remnants of music in the wars. I found sheets of music, handwritten and stuffed into military jackets, war-torn and ripped. I saw mandolins played by German soldiers and bugles blown by British and American troops. I saw the very bagpipes British soldier, Bill Millin, played as he walked across the Pegasus Bridge.
We stood in the trenches where American soldiers fought. We rubbed sand on the names of fallen soldiers across France. One of our own, Kesley Kohl, had a relative buried in the American Cemetery at Normandy.
All the students participated in a ceremony to honor her family member. The history of this land goes back much farther than the wars of the 20th century. Castles, medieval villas and farmhouses scattered the French countryside.
The class marveled at the intricate carvings of saints and angels on the outside of the Notre-Dame de Reims. We climbed the winding stairwells of the Mont-St.-Michel to stand in the halls of the Abby at the top. My feet stood on the same bricks as monks in the seventh century.
I felt the years pass through under the dome of that church. We ate delicious dry-aged goat cheese, drank cider from Normandy apples and tasted caramel hot off the table.
The French cuisine we had was always wonderful. All the food we ate was fresh from the field, as agriculture is such a large industry in the French countryside.
ABAC offers many different study abroad programs in the spring and summer.
In 2020 there are trips heading to Belize in the spring and a group going to Thailand in May. I highly encourage anyone able to take advantage of this opportunity the college offers.
Those interested can contact Dr. Darby Sewell, email@example.com, for more information.