Senior Emma Frantz, winner of the International Video Contest launched by Portland State Education Abroad, recently came back from studying abroad in Lyon, France for one year.
This is the first annual video contest from Education Abroad. Frantz’ one minute video highlighted her travels and experiences, from meeting new friends to visiting the Eiffel Tower. The Vanguard sat down with Franz to hear more about her voyage abroad, attending Université Lumière Lyon 2 as well as her vision behind the short film.
Vanguard: Why France?
Emma Frantz: I took French in high school, but didn’t love it, you know. So when I went college, I decided to take a break from French my freshman year. It was really hard for me and I struggled with it. Then my sophomore year, I decided to retake it again. I fell in love with it because it was more review than what I learned in high school. It wasn’t a hassle. I’m on the track to be a dental hygienist, so I’m getting a four year degree in Health Studies. I found my passion for French again out of nowhere, so my sophomore year I started to look into study abroad, subscribe to the emails, and I went to all the fairs they sent to me. I asked everybody about France and found a program called IE3 Global, and I really liked them. I had been to to Lyon with my dad when I took a family trip there, and I fell in love with it. It was a dream of mine to go back and to be speaking French. I was originally just going to minor in French, but when I went to France I got so many credits that I’m going to double major now.
VG: How was the IE3 Global study abroad experience like?
EF: I was enrolled in language courses. I was in class approximately 20 hours a week with 10 classes, and each class was designed to help you learn French based on the your level. I had classes on grammar, writing, conjugation, and it was all in French. Then they threw in classes like history, cultural studies and theater class. It was all set up and you really didn’t have a choice. I got credit for that university that transferred here. I didn’t do direct enrollment, which means that I would have gone into health in French, but I decided to do my language studies instead.
VG: What was the culture like there?
EF: The culture shock that I had was really interesting. The French lived a lot simpler—they don’t have as big of houses and the rooms are a lot smaller. Meals are really important to them, so sitting down for lunch, dinner and sometimes even breakfast is about conversation and being with family more than stuffing your mouth on the go, that I, and a lot of Americans, have been guilty of. The biggest culture shock for me, was in France they do what’s called un bisou, which is a kiss on either cheek. When I first got there, I was shaking people’s hands and that’s not really what people do.
VG: What were some of your most memorable experiences?
EF: I would say my favorite part was my host family. That’s what I miss the most. I was in Vieux Lyon, and it was the most beautiful place that I could have imagined. Tourists usually go see the Rose Tower, and my window faced the tower. I really lucked out in my location. I also miss walking everywhere and how much they use public transportation. They have subways, buses and trams and people hardly drive. It’s so fast and easy and the subway ran every three minutes. I paid $15 for the whole year to use city bikes that you can drop off in one place and pick up in another. I used that system for everywhere.
VG: Were you always into film-making and editing? What was your inspiration behind your film?
EF: No. My dad used to work in Hollywood and he used to be really into making videos and got a GoPro. He got back into construction work, so I asked him for his GoPro about a year or two ago. He gave it to me and when I went to Lyon I decided to start recording and journaling. Originally, it was just for me, to remember where I’ve been. It turned out that I traveled a lot and took it everywhere I went and recorded my experience. Then, I decided to put it together.
VG: Why would you recommend studying abroad?
EF: I feel like I grew so much. Going to see another culture is the only way you can see your own in my opinion. It gives you that ability and feeling that you can do anything. Travelling to different countries is easier now. You really become independent when you travel because I didn’t know anyone where I was going.