Statements by former students in the Paris program

The USF Program in Paris was my first international travel experience and I'm glad that it was.  The program is expertly planned and this makes for a very smooth and memorable experience. I was able to see things and go places well beyond what a typical tourist in Paris ever sees. Not only did I learn about art, Paris and French culture on this trip, but I learned a lot about myself.  I left Paris with a new perspective on life, an expanded French vocabulary, new friends and a ton of memories that will last me a lifetime. If you have the opportunity to go on this trip, do it.  You won't regret it.
- Alexi Berry


"Of all the things I learned while studying abroad, I think that one of the most important things I learned was "not strange, but different".  Being in a new environment and surroundings can make one feel uncomfortable and alienated, but in Paris I grew to learn that the differences in the cultures, language, mannerisms, and city life were not strange, but different and unique to the place.  Studying abroad opened my eyes to so many new perspectives on life, and different ways to embrace each other and accept uniqueness everywhere.  I'm so glad I had the chance to experience a way that people in another part of the world live!"
- Gabrielle Groos


The best part about studying in such history rich cities such as Paris and London is that you become part of the history and aura of the places yourself.  I found new perspectives in simply being present in these places and imagining all that has happened before me.  As with most students, money was an issue for me.  But if you truly want to go, you will find a way to make it happen.  You will make friendships in the program as well as internationally that will last well beyond the trip.  This experience has no doubt inspired me to make future travel plans.
- Alan Phan


The Paris Program was the opportunity of a lifetime. It was affordable and provided me with endless opportunities to see a variety of amazing art. I felt inspired the whole time I was there and continue to draw inspiration from the memory of those experiences. Despite the fact that most of the locals spoke English, it opened my eyes to the benefits of learning another language. I am now enrolled in French classes! If I had the chance, I would do it all over again.
- Courtney Spring


The willing dislocation that I lived there helped feed my curiosity, gave rise to new interests, and was perhaps the single most important aspect of my formation as an artist. My month there was filled with different activities: from our explorations as a class and group travel, to finding a new place to go to within an unending list of sites, new food to taste, making friends with strangers, falling back in love with walking and finding time to sit quietly while watching the city pass by. I started thinking of Paris as a home! If there is one “side effect” to living in Paris as a student in the program, it is always wanting to go back.

- Maria Velasquez


Paris is just one of those places that change your life forever and it stays with you. If you take yourself seriously as an artist, you can go on this trip in walk in the streets that artists walked, see the things that they saw, sit where they sat. This program gives you the information that you need to be in an unfamiliar place and the time there to make it familiar.
- Jaisen Crockett


This was my first trip to Paris and it is one that I will never forget. I am a painter and I truly believe that the people, culture, and lifestyle of Parisians will affect my work forever. I return from this trip with more education and inspiration than all of my graduate studies have offered thus far. Not only do students see a large amount of the most important art works of all time, they get to witness a culture that acknowledges the value and necessity of artists. As an artist, the value of this experience is priceless.
- Chuck Carbia


My time in Paris affected me and my art in ways that will be with me forever. The program is long enough to feel a sense of familiarity and belonging, to be able to make a return visit (or two, or three) to all your favorite museums and galleries, to visit and study your favorite paintings until your head and your heart are full, to walk the Paris boulevards without the aid of a map, to find the very best chocolate croissant, to photograph a parkscape at all times of the day and night, to be gifted with a smile of familiarity from a shopkeeper, to spend hours at a sidewalk cafe chatting or studying faces, to dance until the wee hours in a nightclub, to attend as many week-end gallery openings as you want, to study aspects of art history and art theory at the place of their conception, to give accurate directions to American tourists (and maybe even French tourists), to fill a sketchbook (or two or three), to haggle in French at the best flea markets in the world, to attend special receptions at the Louvre, to ride the metro disguised as a Frenchman, to visit Van Gogh's cathedral, and Daumier's Ile St. Louis, and Pei's pyramid, to realize that even five weeks is not enough time. There must be some things left undone, untried...there will always be a reason to return.
- Connie Barnes


In Paris, "I had long imagined what Paris was like before I went there and the program made the city live up to and exceed my expectations. For five weeks I became a citizen of the city, using its metro system, art stores, bookstores, grocery stores, museums, galleries, restaurants and cafes (Oh, the food!) The program is designed for you to tap into the true ether of Paris that the typical tourist will never find. But the program only gives as much as you do. It is not a guided tour of the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysees but rather a very informed and useful tool that allows you to gain insight into a new culture and into its history. If you are open to the idea of living in the city, i.e., behaving as the French do, embracing and conquering your sense of smallness that is the byproduct of culture shock, then this is an opportunity that you should seriously consider."
- Andrew Rush


"Studying in Paris is not only the chance of a lifetime, but it is so important to students who wish to make careers out of their experiences and studies. It is overwhelming to see the same city and the same paintings that you have only read about in textbooks. My experience in Paris not only greatly enriched my knowledge of art; it also provided the chance to live as a Parisian in the city that shaped the essence of nineteenth century art."
- Kristin Welch


“The summer program in Paris provided a rich array of experiences which will last a lifetime. Our time in Paris was filled with delights: trips to cathedrals, explorations of the city, concerts, French food, new friendships. Perhaps the most significant and lasting value to the program for students, however, was that it provided the opportunity to see so many works of art. I will never forget the reaction of art students when they first entered the Louvre: hundreds of art works they had only seen in books and slides became realities, only an arm’s length away... I recommend this program to all art students; I believe the program makes a significant impact on students’ lives, greatly increases their knowledge of modern art, and elevates their artistic sophistication to levels which could never be reached without the Paris experience.”
- Janeen Larsen


“For an artist especially, or those in the Humanities/Fine Arts disciplines, studying in Paris or abroad is an absolutely invaluable experience. You are immersed in an ocean of spectacular culture, arts, tradition, and unfamiliar words which overwhelm the senses at first, necessitating a reassessment of your world and local view. It is an expansive view to say the least. But in several days, and by the fifth week, Paris will feel like home as you now order your café creme in semi-impeccable French and take full advantage of your cosmopolitan status. And it is precisely this nonmyopic, broad scope of our one world/many differences/many cultures which seduces us, reaffirming our individuality while recognizing commonly shared experiences amongst all...A panoramic view of life while living history in one gorgeous city.”
-Trong Nguyen


“I fell in love with Paris when I was twenty years old visiting as a tourist for five days. If asked why I loved Paris I would say it was beautiful, and historic and of course very romantic. All quite true but easy answers. I came to understand why I loved Paris many years later as a student with the USF Summer Program in Paris. Living at the Foyer gave me the opportunity to discover Paris in depth, to look at this amazing city in depth from all angles and to do it at my own pace. As an Art History major this experience is invaluable, even essential to an understanding of the history of art. I recommend this particular program to students with little or no experience traveling abroad because it is so complete. The program’s group and independent activities are balanced in a thoughtful and sensitive manner so that each student may find his or her comfort level with traveling in a foreign land. All of the above are important components in describing the USF Paris program but the most important reason to go to Paris with this program is to see first hand the works of art that can only be viewed by slides in the classroom in Tampa. There is simply no comparison. Paris is a talented teacher. Its people, its art, its Metro, its language, its food and so much more will transform and inform you.”  
 - Susan Turo


“I am still absorbing the many great rewards that I have received from my studies abroad. Besides the obvious advantages that being situated in Paris allows one (numerous museums & galleries, parks and attractions, excursions), for perhaps the first time in my life, or in a very long time, I was able to stop and simply enjoy a beautiful day in nature - the fact that my enjoyment of a carefree afternoon, spent doing nothing and worrying about nothing - was in France only made the experience that much more memorable and magical.
-Curtis Brown