More than half the students at Linfield pursue studies abroad, while the school picks up the tab for airfare to and from the destination country and arranges for language students to stay with host families. Students study abroad for a month, semester or year.
Many programs now have a service component, with students and faculty caring for children in Mexican orphanages or constructing homes in Guatemala. Students trace the origins of evolution on the Galapagos Islands and visit opera houses in Austria. In New Zealand, they study the Maori culture. They study marine biology in Hawaii, Arab civilization in Spain, medieval philosophy in Europe, and technological and environmental advances in China.
Nguyen Tran ’11 just returned from a semester in Angers, France, where she stayed with a host family and attended language classes at the very old International Center for French Studies.
She studied during the day, ate croque monsieurs for lunch, and had dinner with her host family, which consisted of five courses each night—salad, meat, bread and cheese, and dessert, in that order and accompanied by wine. The parents of her host family live in a castle, she says, but their children opted for an ancient three-story home with a garden in the back. Tran roomed in the home with students from New York City and Japan, and they visited castles, took in theatre, roamed cobblestone streets until their feet hurt, and took the high-speed train to Paris.
“People in France like to go out to cafes and they like to talk, especially about politics,” Tran says. She says people in France speak more softly and are less direct and open in their communication. People there live at a slower pace and don’t multitask the way Americans do.
“Life is short,” Tran says, “and I want to explore.” Originally from Vietnam, she felt a feeling of adventurous excitement when she first arrived in America. “I’ve lost that feeling now,” she says, “but when I traveled to France the feeling came back.”
Tran likes studying languages because she can experience the different ways people interpret life, and likes studying French because it’s such a romantic language. But next time she visits Paris, she says, she definitely wants to have a fiancé along.