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A Semester in France for Quincy Durr

Quincy Durr in Bruges, Belgium
Quincy Durr in Bruges, Belgium

Located in northern France, Lille is a densely populated and vibrant city where about half of the population is university students. A number of those are international students studying abroad. Last semester, Quincy Durr ’19 was among those young learners.

A French major, Quincy chose to do her required study away semester in Lille. (All Keene State students who major in a language are required to study abroad during their junior or senior year, and many of the French majors choose France.) One of the most surprising things she experienced was living in residences with French students as well as other students from all over the globe.

“I went to France to better my French and to meet French people,” says Quincy. “I did that, but I also met people from all over the world, so there was this kind of sense of global interconnectivity, which was really cool and something I wasn’t expecting. I made friends with students from South Korea, Lebanon, England, and all over the place. That was really awesome.”

In addition to her classes, which were taught in both French and English, Quincy enjoyed traveling around Europe. “The cool thing about Lille is that it’s situated in the north of France, which means that it’s very close to a lot of other northern cities, like Paris, London, and Amsterdam. I was also able to see some of the Christmas markets in Germany, where they originated, which was really neat.”

Growing up in Keene with parents who are Keene State alumni, the choice to attend Keene State was clear, but her major wasn’t always apparent. During Quincy’s gap year between high school and college, she lived and worked in Versailles, France, as an au pair. That led her to getting placed into a French class her first semester.

“I just fell in love with it,” she recalls. “Professor Tom Durnford has a way of teaching French that is atypical. He focuses more on the usage. I found myself wanting to go to class, so it felt natural to become a French major. That’s how I fell into it.”

Overall, Quincy’s study away experience helped her grow as an individual. She would recommend it to anyone, not solely language majors. “I think studying abroad would not only get people out of their comfort zone but would really throw them into a culture that could benefit them. I think that people should consider how it would help them academically and how it would help them grow as a person.”

After Quincy graduates in May, she plans to get certified in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) in hopes of returning to France to teach English to French students or staying in the United States to teach English to foreign students.

“I work as a substitute teacher now and last year I was a sub for a French class. I think teaching is very rewarding and I could see myself doing it.”

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