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Postcards from Abroad

Study away highlights submitted by Duke students

  • open air market in Aix-en-Provence France
Market in Aix-en-Provence, France

One of my favorite things in Aix was the market in the center of the town. I purchased the strawberries so often, the man who ran the stand had my order ready as soon as he saw me. He was always willing to speak to me in French (and even give a little chuckle during our first interaction when he asked if I was American after I stumbled over a couple of words). To me, this friendliness and patience, which was exhibited by the majority of people in Aix, set this experience apart. I felt incredibly welcomed, and it shocked me to realize how quickly I became comfortable with speaking to the locals.


open air market in Aix en Provence France
The market in Aix-en-Provence, France


In Aix, I learned that learning a new language is not just about the language, it is about immersing yourself into the culture and trying to learn from people to deepen one's overall understanding. It is about becoming unafraid and bold in expressing yourself in a different language. And it is about being grateful to the people that allow you to have the experience of studying in such a rich, immersive program, from your host family to your professors to your university. Because of Aix, I have decided to major in French because I cannot imagine my Duke career without another experience like this one.

Kayley Dotson '21
Psychology, French Studies


Program Featured:

Duke in Aix-en-Provence




Studying away online with Madeleine

"I was looking to gain internship experience this summer, but I was unsure of what in-person opportunities would be available."

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Virtual Provence with Cami

"Before the Duke in Provence program, I was planning on minoring in French. However, this experience made me a lot more curious about French culture, especially because I hadn’t explored the region of Provence until this program."

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Gabby Bunnell on Duke in Paris

"Naturally, as we ate, we spoke in French so my conversational ability rapidly improved, as did my knowledge of French culture. My host mom told incredible stories. Once she told me about how she fled Paris during World War II. I’ll always carry that with me.” 

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Anna's Evening Stroll Through Paris

"The program does an amazing job matching students with families for the homestay! My host mom worked in a field similar to the one I would like to go into, and I was able to learn not only the French language, but also about what was happening in France that related to my interests."

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Duke in Aix-en-Provence: A Brave New World for Antonio

"When I learned about Duke en Aix, I was determined to be accepted into the program. I’m a quiet and shy person, but I promised myself that if I got into the program I would be open to new experiences. I wanted to immerse myself in the French culture and be more sociable with the people around me.”

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Max Recounts Paris Experience: The Language and the Land

“I am certainly more fluent in reading and hearing French than I was previously, even now that it has been three years since I had any French instruction. Taking the classes at French universities also helped to improve my writing, since the writing style is extremely regimented in philosophy classes there.”

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Surprises and Highlights of Jessica's Parisian Summer

"It was truly a learning experience through and through, I was constantly learning the language, the environment and culture, and also about myself and how to push myself out of my comfort zone. The highlight of my trip, among many amazing experiences, was building a relationship with my host family throughout the six weeks."

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My Duke in Paris Experience

"Biggest takeaway: the world is mine. In Paris, I became so comfortable with the city by the end of my six weeks there that I could navigate the Paris alone with no trouble. Strangers were surprised when I told them I was American. It was quite the empowering experience and I realized I really loved big cities!" 

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Connecting Policy, History, and Culture on Duke in Montréal

By Alicia Pak

Through Duke in Montreal, I spent part of July in Quebec City studying economic and cultural development of the region and meeting with such figures as the Minister of International Relations and the U.S. Consul General.

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Gaining Fluency in a Second Foreign Language

"Aix-en-Provence is the ideal locale for six weeks of immersing yourself in French culture and living with a host family. French is my second foreign language (I’m an English and Spanish double major) and this intensive course has been exactly what I need—the highlight of my experience has been gaining confidence in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing French!"

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