Help Classsicalmeme Study in Paris

Hi Everyone!

My name is Saray Escoto and I am a student at Lehman College majoring in Linguistics with a minor in French. I am joyous to announce I have been granted the opportunity to finish my undergraduate studies in Paris. The exchange program consists of one semester at campus Rue des Bernardins (La Sorbonne Nouvelle) where I will be earning twelve credits that will complete my undergraduate degree in Linguistics. The campus emphasizes language science; therefore, I believe it is the best suited place for my didactic goals. Since my income is significantly low, I depend on your help to embark on this life-changing experience. 

Although I will be traveling to France fom January to June 2018, please keep in mind this is not a vacation.


The total cost of the program is $13,800. Because I receive federal aid, my tuition will be covered. However, living expenses and airfare won’t be covered. This is what the $6,000 will help finance. I have applied for the Benjamin E. Gilman International scholarship but it has not yet been accepted.

Here is a breakdown of the expenses for the entire program:

$3,165 for tuition
$99 for visa fee
$1,000 for one-way airfare
$940 for daily transportation & airport taxi
$3,600  for housing ($600/month x 6 months)
$276 for CISI International Medical insurance
$2,400  for food ($400/ month x 6 months)
$300 for books/school materials
$240 for tech, activity & consolidated fee
$2,000 for personal expenses (laundry, hygiene products etc.)

Please take into consideration France will not grant me a visa unless I have enough money to support myself.


Financial need plays a significant role in my decision to study abroad. I've experienced poverty since I was a child. I was raised by a single mother who worked at the local factory until we immigrated to the United States. Having arrived in New York, we endured domestic violence, which led us to live in homeless shelters for one year. We have left the shelter, but we continue to live in a small space because rent is significantly high as a proportion of our incomes. To reduce my family’s burden, I've worked two jobs while studying full-time. I worked at the Creative Arts Team theater company on my days off and worked as a house cleaner on the weekends, demonstrating the pragmatic and focused work ethic required to succeed in academia and beyond. Having a study abroad experience on my resume will increase the likelihood of being considered for a well-paying position, based on pertinent linguistic, cultural and academic competence. 


I chose Paris because French is imperative to my graduate proposal. I intend to investigate identity construction through language in the context of slavery and post-colonialism. Specifically, how linguistic discrimination in this context has maintained and perpetuated rivalry between Haiti and Dominican Republic. I plan to achieve this by learning Haitian Creole. To obtain an insightful understanding of Haitian Creole, I must first internalize the French language and become integrated in its “standard” culture. Although I am aware that the French spoken in France is different from the ostracized Haitian “dialect”, it is crucial that I become academically proficient in “standard” metropolitan French to interpret the colonizer’s historical perspective through primary sources in the original language, and to integrate myself further in the formal space of academia as a potential researcher in its varieties.

I was raised in Dominican Republic, where the Anti-Haitianist remnants of Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship continue to be nationally manifested. Learning a critical interpretation of Caribbean history has helped me understand that Haitians and Dominicans were once the same people. This issue has yet to receive widespread institutional support in the academic sphere, thence, guiding myself with this historical, sociolinguistic value, I will conduct in-depth and innovative research on the racial realities in the Caribbean and therefore, assist with policy making regarding immigration & naturalization in Dominican Republic as well as in Haiti. 

Because the research I intend to conduct will depend on my native-like command of French varieties, my study abroad program will lay an indispensable foundation for formally initiating my post-undergraduate pursuit. The archives in Paris contain exceptionally valuable data that would inform my research and provide unique context to this area of academic inquiry, since the cultural chasm between the two nations often means that sources from one side are not included in the academic and intellectual discourse of the other side. Bridging these two cultures is a primary professional and personal objective of mine, and my time in Paris will facilitate this goal immensely. 

By studying abroad, I will also have the immense privilege of witnessing the culture of Black people in France. This serves me as reference with which to examine my own reality in North America and to embrace and promote the plurality of Black people worldwide.


-My visa appointment is on December 4th. I won’t be granted the visa unless I show the consulate I have enough money to support myself during my stay. I will also be required to have purchased my plane ticket by then.


-You can also support my cause by purchasing LOVE JOURNAL 2015 for $40. The album contains 36 4x6 exclusive photos of me captured through a lens of intimacy. Books are sealed in glassine envelopes, signed and editioned by me and Mike Spears. Please contact me if you'd like to purchase a copy.

-I can receive checks made out to Saray L Escoto Castillo

If more information is needed please contact me.


Studying abroad will provide me with experiences that will enhance my employment prospects while also paving a much clearer path into graduate school.

Any monetary donation, large or small, will be of significant help. If you are unable to donate money, donating airline miles or spreading the word by sharing this page will help me vastly.

Thank you for taking the time to get to know me and for financing the beginning of my dreams.


Saray Escoto

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Saray Escoto Castillo 
New York, NY
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