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Jackson Vaught, from Vanderbilt to Aix

Why did you decide to study abroad in France?

As someone who was pursuing a minor in French, I yearned for an opportunity to enhance my fluency and immerse myself in the French culture. Thankfully, Vanderbilt offered me an opportunity to do so during the summer of 2014 through the Vanderbilt in France program. The program could not have been better designed, as I had French classes 3 days a week, participated in weekly excursions throughout Provence, ate dinner with a French family multiple times weekly, and had myriad opportunities to travel across both France and Europe.

How has your experience in France contributed to your personal and professional goals?

Studying abroad in France was, without a doubt, the greatest experience of my college career. It completely changed my perspective and how I see the world amongst many other things. Personally, my time in France made me much more open-minded, accepting of people different than myself, and has shifted my goals to having much more of a global impact. Professionally, studying abroad solidified my proficiency in French and being bilingual certainly has given me an advantage when applying for jobs and internships. I also had the opportunity to intern for the French educational system during my time there, which sparked an interest in educational public policy which I hope to pursue one day.

Can you tell us a little anecdote or memory that happened during your stay in France?

Climbing the Montagne Ste Victoire was by far the best day of my entire study abroad experience. As one of the tallest mountains in the region that also has cultural and religious significance, I could not have asked for a better physical, mental, and spiritual "climb" that day. The view was absolutely unparalleled and it was one of the most freeing experiences of my life.

In one sentence, study in France means...

Seizing the opportunity to change your perspective in not only what makes us different, but what makes us the same.