Facing France


Lauren Kamykowski (11) holds up the French Flag. Kamykowski applied for the IUHPFL program to stay in France for seven weeks over the summer.

Elena Gorney, Author

Lauren Kamykowski (11) is traveling to France in the Indiana University Honors Program for Foreign Languages (IUHPFL) in June. She will spend seven weeks in France.

“Last year my French teacher gave me this little pamphlet, and I just thought it was really exciting, but I didn’t really look into it. All I really knew was that it was expensive. At the beginning of this year, we had an orientation where the people who went last year talked about it. That’s when I decided to start applying for it,” Kamykowski said.

IUHPFL costs $4,700 for the program, and flights are another $1,400. Students should also have spending money to pay for some meals and souvenirs if they wish. Kamykowski is doing everything she can to help pay for the trip.

“I have a job, so I have about $3,000 of my own money, and they gave me $1,000 of financial aid. I’m paying for most of it myself and paying [family] back for [money they loan], but my parents are going to pay [a portion] of it,” Kamykowski said.

Students traveling for IUHPFL are only allowed to talk, listen to music and interact with technology in the language of the country they are visiting. In preparation for this, Kamykowski is making slight changes to her daily life.

“I changed my phone to all French. It doesn’t seem like it would be that big of a deal, but I learn a lot of small words or phrases that I never would’ve thought went that way, especially on social media. My tweets are still in English, [but] it will say [there is a] new post from this [person], or this person liked this, so I see that in French. I also have Duolingo, so I use that. [Duolingo] has this new thing where you can have a fake conversation with a robot so that helps a lot,” Kamykowski said.

Kamykowski wishes to become a diplomat and possibly go to college in France. The IUHPFL program will not only provide an interesting lifetime experience, but it will prepare her for her future career.

“Knowing French will definitely help me in that field. Also, the official language of the UN is French, so it will be really good to know that if I [become a diplomat],” Kamykowski said.

 Living in France for seven weeks may be difficult for Kamykowski, as she has never been away from her family for more than one week at a time or flown in a plane before, but she knows that facing her fears will be worth it.

“I know I’m going to miss my friends, my dog and my family, but everything I’m going to gain from [traveling to France] really outweighs all the negative kinds of anxieties I’m having,” Kamykowski said.