Dominique advises for the USAC programs in France.
I feel like I was born to study abroad. I was born in France, and since my family was living there at the time they all speak French to some degree. None of us are perfectly fluent so it makes for some pretty funny conversations sometimes. Studying abroad also runs in the family. My mother and all my siblings have studied abroad. So I knew from a young age that I was destined to study abroad in France at some point.
Where did you study abroad?
My first study abroad was a during my Junior year of high school in Strasbourg, France. I did a gap year between high school and college in Canberra, Australia. During my undergrad, I studied abroad with USAC twice: a ‘spring’ semester in Melbourne, Australia and then later on a spring semester in Pau, France.
What is your favorite memory from your time abroad?
One of the cutest moments of my life was in China. I was visiting the USAC Chengdu program, and every term they take a field trip to the local Panda Research Institute. It was amazing to see pandas in real life, but the cherry on top was getting to hold a panda. I squealed with joy like a spoiled 3-year-old piled with presents on their birthday. I’ll never forget what it was like to hold a chubby panda cub on my lap while it munched on a fragrant apple.
If you could go on any USAC program, what would it be and why?
There’s so many good choices, but I’ve been lucky to have done a fair bit of personal travel already and have seen quite a few places. I think Thailand is at the top of my list because of the landscape, food, and kind people. I would pick it as a study abroad location specifically because of the unique courses offered there, like courses on Buddhism, gender courses, the Hill Tribe Field Study, and of course…cooking!
What do you like to do outside of work?
On the weekends you can usually find me at the dog park with my little shiba inu, at a concert, or doing arts and crafts. I majored in art, and enjoy many mediums such as photography, glass working, sewing, sculpture, and painting. I especially love Halloween and occasions to dress in costume.
What is a weird fact about you?
I’m unpredictable, maybe even illogical sometimes. My two biggest phobias are spiders and heights. However, I more than willingly chose to go skydiving when traveling in New Zealand and I lived in Australia twice…which has some of the largest and deadliest spiders. I think it’s really important to keep trying new things, even if it’s what terrifies you most.