By: Ray Vernon, Chairman
In July 2019, Lia Raileanu celebrated her 30th consecutive year leading an education abroad program in Paris with ACCENT – an incredible achievement! Lia is a faculty member of Foreign Languages at the Coast Community College District in California, which includes Orange Coast College, Golden West College and Coastline College. Each year, Lia has recruited and taught cohorts of between 25 and 35 students in her Paris program.
Lia is no stranger to international education and its benefits, having been born and educated in Switzerland and France, lived and taught in Romania before moving to Southern California. Lia has taught French at Orange Coast College for over thirty years and served as the Chair of Foreign Languages for the past eight years. She has also encouraged colleagues in Foreign Languages and other departments to lead similar programs abroad in Florence, London, and Madrid.
Lia’s love for French language and culture is apparent to all who meet her. Her students, nearly all inspired to travel to Paris with Lia after enrolling in her courses on campus, attend the Sorbonne every morning for intermediate and advanced language classes. For beginner French students, Lia teaches a class at the ACCENT Study Center. Students could not have a better start to learning a foreign language and many continue their French studies upon returning to the U.S.
Rarely does a professor transmit more passion for a city than Lia, through her multitude of cultural visits each year during the month of July, through which students walk the streets of Paris, visit monuments and museums, take day trips to Versailles, Chartres, Rouen and Giverny, and enjoy evening activities including a visit to the Louvre, a ballet performance at Opéra Garnier or Opéra Bastille, and a concert at the Saint Chapelle. Lia makes sure to include many of her personal favorite places, off the beaten track, in addition to the “must see” sites for students, most of whom are in Paris for the first time. A few added experiences such as the Gastronomy lecture, market tour and an annual Pétanque tournament complete a month filled with unforgettable experiences and the opportunity to improve language skills.
Many of Lia’s Paris students continue for a four-year degree and in doing so, often select a French minor. All of this is thanks to the passionate introduction they have had to the French language and culture by a professor who is quite creative and unique in her approach to teaching.
Congratulations to Lia from the entire ACCENT team!