Brenda Cavanaugh and her daughter

Middlesex College French Professor, Brenda Cavanaugh and her daughter

Leila Cavanaugh.

Brenda Cavanaugh, a French teacher at Middlesex College, said she considers France her home away from home. 

Cavanaugh said she's always had a desire to learn about the culture. French culture always piqued her interest because her grandmother and great-grandmother were native French Canadian speakers, and she wanted to reclaim that culture. 

Cavanaugh first traveled to France at the age of 16. When she went on her first trip, Cavanaugh was a foreign exchange student who stayed with a family in the south of France in a small town in Pont-Saint-Esprit.

This experience is still Cavanaugh's fondest memory of all her time in France. She recalled a memory of her spending late nights around the kitchen table with the family just talking about life.

She said, “In France, people are more present-oriented. People live in the moment.”

Cavanaugh is still in contact with the family she was placed with, and she tries to visit them every other summer. She said she considers them to be part of her family.  

Cavanaugh's next notable trip to France was when she did a study abroad program at the University de Tours in Tours, France. During her year there, Cavanaugh remembers the beautiful châteaux or castles dotting the coastal region. 

Cavanaugh said she appreciated meeting so many new people and connections there, and she loved the way they spoke in the region. She said that the University of Tours is known for having “the purest form of the French language” that's not impeded by any regional accent.

(1) comment


First I would like to say how wonderful this is written Ashley Wyber, you really put professor Cavanaugh's experience and feelings in France into account and breathed her words into life. What piqued my curiosity was how she had another family in France. Why was she placed with that family? where is her other family? The way you write about her missing the university experience of university de tours because of the uncorrupt language they speak really makes you feel her heart longing for home, especially a language that is widely known to be beautiful.

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