Holly O’Mahony: Case Study – Geneva 2020-21


PXL_20201128_121253413.MPI have had the pleasure of spending the last year in Geneva, Switzerland, where I have been completing the first year of my Masters degree in International Affairs. Alongside my regular classes I took weekly French classes, and was pushed to improve my French through my interactions with French-speaking friends and the broader Geneva community.


The city itself has had much to offer, despite it being the middle of a pandemic. Geneva offers a variety of outdoor attractions such as mountains, hiking trails, lakes and parks which I was able to enjoy all year round with the friends I’ve made.

The highlight of my experience, however, was the opportunity to spend one month studying an intensive French language course in Montpellier this summer. Situated in the South of France, Montpellier offered me a completely different way of life to Geneva and the chance to interact with countless local people from all walks of life. It also served as a pivotal moment in my French learning experience, allowing me to push myself and express myself in French in ways I previously hadn’t been able to.

Without the generous help of the John Speak Trust, I would not have been able to undertake my travel and studying in the South of France that was so critical to elevating my French proficiency and drastically improving my confidence. Moreover, I wouldn’t have been able to live comfortably, travel and make the memories I have in Geneva were it not for the funding. The linguistic, cultural and social benefits of the funding have been invaluable, and I am incredibly grateful to the Trust for their support throughout this year.


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