‘I will be forever grateful I had the opportunity’


Tarin Rickett travelled to Morocco, southern Spain, Greece, and also did a 2-week backpacking trek across several countries during her semester abroad in the IES Nantes French Language Immersion program.

Study abroad is not just about seeing neat places overseas, sampling the food, and hopefully picking up some credits for your degree.

It can also be a great way to meet new people and form lasting friendships. And one of the best ways to do that is to stay with a host family.

Tarin Rickett ’18 discovered that during the spring of 2017 during her semester abroad in the IES Nantes French Language Immersion program.

“I was very fortunate to have been placed with an amazing host family,” says the computer science and brain and cognitive sciences major. “We got along really well and I still talk to them regularly. One of the things I miss the most from my time abroad are just simple sit-down family dinners: hearing about everyone’s day, eating amazing french food, and absorbing the culture and customs.”

Rickett has been studying French since middle school and had always wanted to study abroad in France to refine her skills and expand her experiences. However, because she’s doing a dual major, plus getting minors in French and psychology, it was not easy fitting a study abroad semester into her schedule. Initially she pursued a direct enrollment program in Nice. When that fell through at the last minute, she had to switch programs and move her courses around again, working closely with Marty Guenther, the computer science undergraduate coordinator and her IES advisor.

“Luckily, everything worked out and although my senior year is now packed with graduation requirements, it is still so worth it to have been able to study abroad,” she says.

“My french language skills improved so much more than I ever thought they would. I gained a lot more confidence not only in my language skills, but in myself and my abilities overall. It’s daunting to study abroad and so much of the experience feels exhausting, awkward, and embarrassing. Pushing myself through those moments made me a braver, bolder, and overall stronger person,” she says.

And that’s why she encourages other students to study abroad, no matter what the obstacles.

“There were plenty of times where studying abroad at all– let alone in France and in an immersive program like I wanted– seemed totally impossible,” Rickett says. “I wanted to give up and walk away, but I will forever be grateful that I had the support and resources to keep me going.”

“There are so many people at U of R, abroad, and through study abroad programs who are willing and able to support you in whatever ways they can to help you achieve your goals. Start reaching out to whoever you can now, even if you’re still unsure of what exactly you’re looking for.”


Tarin Rickett and the camel she met in Morocco.