Nick Pessarra: Abroad in France
Nicholas Pessarra’s big city dreams came true after being admitted to the University of Houston as a Tier One Scholar where he went on to travel to lavish Angers, France — completing a minor in French — while currently studying creative writing and advertising.
“Houston offers everything I want and still has southern hospitality. Also, I knew I wanted one of my majors to be creative writing, and Houston has the second best (graduate) creative writing program in the nation, so that was definitely a selling point. And then of course I was offered the Tier One scholarship,” Pessarra said.
“That was the cherry on top. The opportunity to study abroad and do research being here every day I’ve grown to love it more and more. I love the international student body. I feel like I learn just as much with the student body, and in the city, as I do in the classroom. Everything is an experience and a new chance to learn.”
Pessarra was enrolled in French classes throughout his high school career, despite being encouraged to take Spanish, because of its prominence in Texas. It was where he fell in love with the language and even surpassed his high school language requirement, which prompted his interest in completing a French minor when he got to college.
“French had been very much to me that romance language, and being a writer, I had always been into these romantic ideals … I was always interested in learning French and as I researched the language I discovered that it is also the most widely spoken language, meaning spoken in the most different places throughout the world due to French colonization, so in every continent you go to, there is someone speaking French,” Pessarra said.
As a result Pessarra studied abroad Summer 2012 and stayed with a French family where he was able to be immersed in the culture. Pessarra took classes that counted for UH credit, which went toward his French minor. He described his summer as an eye-opening experience by being surrounded by younger siblings — 8- and 10-year-old boys and a 13-year-old girl — for the first time in his life.
“I hope in the future no matter what I do, whether it’s advertising, or a writing career taking off, I want to be able to come back to this University and share my experience of what I’ve learned and what I’ve achieved and give back in whatever way I can,” Pessarra said.
“Whether it’s in monetary value by giving to the Tier One Scholarship to help the next generation to come up and find themselves and what they have to offer to the world, or if it’s just being able to come back here and share what I’ve learned with students; being able to do readings or whatever else I can do to inspire another generation and help make their life on campus what it has been for me; to make them excited and realize all of the opportunities that we have here and everything we can learn from our faculty, staff, peers and alumni as well.”