Alpine Adventures Await!

Hello and welcome to my study abroad blog! My name is Grace Gacki, and I am a sophomore in the Frederick Honors College studying French and Political Science. This semester, I will be traveling to Grenoble, France— a city in southeastern France located at the base of the Alps— to participate in an Intensive French language course at the Université Grenoble Alpes through the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS).

I was born and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (aka the city no one thinks of when you bring up Pennsylvania despite it being the capital of the state). While in high school, I began studying French after taking a short trip to Paris, and I immediately fell in love with the language and culture. I was even planning on being an exchange student in France my senior year of high school, but unfortunately, those plans were thwarted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, due to growing up surrounded by state-government, I began taking an interest in politics and joined many politically-oriented organizations during high school. Coming to Pitt, I decided to combine my two passions and study both French and Political Science. I am also involved in many activities at Pitt that align with these interests, including Pitt’s Model UN and French clubs. In the future, I hope to attend Graduate school and obtain a Master’s degree in International Relations once I graduate from Pitt. My goal is to one day work as a Foreign Service Officer with the United States State Department in a francophone country.

When I began my studies at Pitt, I started to wonder how I could incorporate my dream of studying abroad into my academic experience. When I was researching study abroad programs, I knew I had to find one that would exactly fit my academic and career goals, which is why I chose the Intensive French Program in Grenoble through AIFS. Majoring in French, I have taken several French courses and done well, but I feel that studying abroad in Grenoble will be the key to truly improving my French proficiency. Spending several months taking rigorous French courses and staying with a French-speaking family will inspire me to become fully and completely immersed in the French language. This will hopefully be useful to me in my future career endeavors and living in a francophone country. As I prepare for traveling to Grenoble next week, the thing I am looking forward to most is getting out of my comfort zone. I am so very excited to meet new people, go to new places, try new foods, and learn about an entirely new culture this semester!

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