Kristi Williams, a senior at the University of South Alabama, is spending a summer many can only dream of, studying in France courtesy of several grants, including one from the French government.
Williams was one of 21 students nationwide to receive the inaugural Benjamin Franklin grant, which is administered through the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. The award is named after Franklin, a “man of the Enlightenment, philosopher and scientist…a great diplomat and friend of France,” according to the embassy’s website. The travel grant of up to $1,500 is aimed at giving students enrolled in an American university an opportunity to discover France.
A native of Wilmer, Williams is currently enrolled in an eight-week program focused on learning French language, history and culture at the University of Burgundy Center for International Studies of French in Dijon, France. She admits the structure of the courses is a lot different than what she’s used to at USA.
I am in class every day of the week and in the classroom for the majority of the day. It’s a great immersion program, which is wonderful for improving language skills,” Williams said. “It’s been a challenge, but I feel like I’m living in a dream.”
In May, Williams also received the University of South Alabama’s Caldwell Endowment which awarded up to $3,000 to fund overseas travel. The two grants, along with an additional travel grant from the French embassy, helped fund her study abroad program which is a requirement of being a foreign language major. Williams is also majoring in communications.