I chose to study in Paris because I wanted to improve my French language skills in order to one day work on sustainable agriculture and other pressing environmental issues affecting West African countries. My only experience outside of the United States before living in Paris was limited to infrequent family trips to Rosarito Beach. Needless to say, I was extremely nervous, yet over-the-moon excited, when I was accepted into CSU-IP Paris!
For the first 10 days of our stay in Paris, the MICEFA arranged for the Paris participants to stay in a hostel in the 5th district. We may not have all stayed in contact throughout the rest of the year, but the first weeks in the hostel and the PLP (language program) were great opportunities to get to know the other CSU-IP students before being thrust into the hustle and bustle of life in Paris.
During one of our first weeks in Paris, the MICEFA organized a trip for all of the CSU-IP students to Provins, a medieval city completely enclosed by walls. We were guided by the cutest French woman, who took us inside the walls and showed us everything about the city.
The most fulfilling part of studying in Paris was being able to experience all of the culture and history the city had to offer. I visited the Louvre more than a handful of times throughout the year, and there is still so much more left for me to see there.
On a trip to Deauville, Normandy, with a group of other girls from my home university, we encountered the annual film festival hosted there. After dining at a restaurant, we decided to head back to the car and spotted John C. Reilly (of Stepbrothers fame) having dinner at a nearby restaurant!
Many apartment buildings in Paris do not come equipped with an elevator. Here are the 7 flights of stairs I climbed on a daily basis to my chambre de bonne. Not having an elevator made certain tasks such as grocery shopping and doing laundry a struggle and I've certainly gained an appreciation for modern technology!
The first snow in Paris felt magical. I'd never lived in a place where it snowed and was so excited to see it falling on the rooftop of my apartment building.
If you ever get the opportunity, I suggest going to Le Chat Noir (Belleville metro) on Monday nights for open mic and poetry. One of the best things that ever could have happened to me while I was in Paris was meeting a songwriter at open mic and being introduced to her producer friend. During my second semester in Paris, I was able to record nearly an entire album. I can't wait to go back and finish recording in the near future.
I loved being able to walk down the street and find constant entertainment and amusement. One of my favorite things to do during spring and summer in Paris was hanging out with my friends by the river.
Because of my study-abroad experience, I have gained an extraordinary amount of confidence, not only in my ability to adapt to whatever environments I live in, but also in my ability to make decisions for myself. My year abroad has changed me in only the most positive of ways.
Learn more about the study abroad program in France