I wanted to share a quick story of how IUHPFL changed my life, and I thought it might be beneficial for you all to keep in the archives.
Applying for IUHPFL in fall 2007 was one of the most out of character things I had ever done. I was a homebody, and really even had trouble spending nights away from my parents. After being accepted to go to St. Brieuc in summer 2008, I was ready for my adventure yet so very scared. The staff on my trip (Chris, Amandine, Benedicte, & Sandra) did an excellent job of keeping me calm and collected throughout the whole travel experience.
By whatever magic existed within the planning of the trip, I was placed with the most perfect host family for me. We got along so well. They were so gracious, kind, and generous with me. The 8-week voyage was nothing short of a life-changing experience with their help.
My host family and I continued our relationship after my departure with exchanging Christmas gifts, monthly Skype sessions, weekly communication, etc.
After St. Brieuc 2008, I enrolled at IU in 2009. I was accepted to the yearlong study abroad program in Aix with APA. During that year, I ended up staying with my host family for long weekends multiple times and it felt just like home all over again. My family even came from the states during this time to stay with my host family during the holidays, and it was the perfect match (as I knew it would be).
After graduating with my BA in French, I took a year to go teach in France with TAPIF, and the magic struck again. I was placed at a school in St. Brieuc in the Rennes academy. My original host family, yet again, graciously opened their home to me and I lived with them for that year. I have been able to visit my family a few times since 2013, even being in St. Brieuc for the birth of my host sister’s first child- I became “Tata Bailey” and it was incredible.
I now teach French & Spanish at Vincennes Lincoln High, and I’ve had the honor to help send a few of my students to various trips with IUHPFL. We love everything the program offers and the uniqueness of the immersion within.
All of this explanation is to add to the sweetest addition of our story: I’m getting married this summer. My father passed away in 2017, and it was no question that my father would trust and appreciate me asking my host father (Jean-Yves) to walk me down the aisle, as they got along much like brothers. Jean-Yves enthusiastically accepted the task (with a few tears), and he and my host mother will be at my wedding to celebrate with us (if the conditions of the pandemic allow).
I have reflected on the beautiful chance that IUHPFL has given me so much over the last few months as we get closer to our wedding, and I just wanted to express my gratitude for this program and all of the lives you all have had a hand in changing. It’s such a sweet reminder of the importance of human connection & cultural discovery. There’s truly nothing like it.
Merci mille fois,
French & Spanish Teacher
World Language Department Chair
Vincennes Lincoln High School
I had a hard time narrowing it down so here’s a few pictures from over the years.