CAS '22 Abby LaForm

Student on a bridge in Lyon over the Saône River
SA: Penn Semester in Lyon

Program Abroad:

  • Semester Abroad (SA): Penn Semester in Lyon

Ask me about...

  • Being abroad for the first time (my first time ever leaving the country!)

  • Mastering public transport while abroad, taking classes AND working (tutoring in a foreign language) in a different language

  • Dealing with isolation (I was the ONLY Penn student in ALL of France during the fall 2021 semester due to COVID not allowing as many students to go abroad, this forced me to step outside my comfort zone even more than I was expecting)

  • Overcoming difficulties in adapting to a completely new environment

  • Being vegan/having dietary restrictions while traveling

  • Comparing Lyon to Paris

My Experience Abroad:

I had long dreamed of studying abroad in France since primary school when I first learned that I have French heritage (check my last name haha). I have studied French rigorously since middle school in preparation for this goal, and even though I had to change from my original plan to go abroad junior year because of COVID, I committed to going during my senior year because it was so important to me. Cultural and language immersion were my two goals, and I knew that my French and international knowledge would not greatly improve unless I went and lived abroad.

Other Highlights:

  • Improving my French (especially my colloquial/conversational French)

  • Meeting and getting to know people of all ethnicities/nationalities while abroad (many of my friends were not only French, but Spanish, Belgian, German, other Americans, etc.)

  • Committing to taking all of my classes in French

  • Working outside of my classes by exploring volunteer opportunities and tutoring a French student in English

  • Just completing the experience and doing it!!!! I made it!!!

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