Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Caitlin N. - Paris, France - Fall 2012

Bonjour tout le monde!
Hello! I have been in Paris for 2 weeks now and I love it. I arrived here on September 3rd and I cannot imagine leaving. I just finished my intensive language session and I will begin class starting tomorrow (Monday the 17th). Needless to say I have had much time to do some exploring and I have found out many interesting things about the city.

The most important thing is learning how public transportation works. I learned the metro system right away and I take it everywhere. I have gotten lost on the streets a couple times but as long as I get to a metro stop I know that I am fine. One thing I found out is that the metro is CRAZY busy. There are a lot of people and most don’t care about you. They kind of push sometimes, I just ignore it. They also occupy themselves on the metro by reading a news journal or listening to music and they usually DON’T SMILE! That was the hardest thing to get used to, passing someone on the street and not smiling. But you honestly adapt quickly. But it is very important to learn the dos and don’ts of the transportation system because you take it everywhere!
One of the best things that I have learned about Paris is that a lot of the museums are free for students! So it has been a lot of fun going and seeing the many different museums of Paris. My program has also allowed me to access some great sights. With my French Class we went to 3 different places during the language session: Le Marais, Rue Mouffetard, and Montmartre. I had been to Monmartre before but it was so nice to go again (plus we got to see the non-tourist part as well. As for the other two, I highly recommend both, but especially Le Marais. It is considered the ‘Jewish’ part of Paris but a lot of students hang out there and it is simply wonderful. There are shops, food, history, and much more. I have visited twice now and plan on going back.
Another adjustment is dinner. We eat dinner late! Like 8 or 9 at night. That was a huge adjustment for me. Luckily I learned quickly to have a small snack between lunch and dinner! It helps. I am doing a homestay and my host mom is wonderful. She always asks me if I like something before cooking it. I however have yet to turn anything down. I wanted to come with an open mind and I actually learned that I liked a few things I would have never tried back in the states.
The best part of my homestay…I am a 10 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, and let me say that the view is fantastic! I am really adjusting to life over here and just this past weekend I have already traveled outside Paris to Normandy and I must say it was fantastic! I recommend getting to know the city you are in first and then travel if you want! Let me know if you have any questions!


Blogger Chris Conway said...

Hi Caitlin! My name is Chris and I will be going to Paris next semester through IES! Im so glad to hear that you enjoy it! I am excited to go but i'm also very nervous. I need to review my French! Has it been easy for your to communicate with everyone in French?

Chris Conway

9:29 PM  
Blogger Rachel Heller said...

Hi Caitlin! My name is Rachel and I will be studying abroad next semester in Spain and hoping to visit France as well! I was wondering if you have any advice for picking classes in another country? That would be helpful! Another question I have pertains to culture shock! What was probably the hardest thing to adapt to? Hope you are having a blast!

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Dan Petrokas said...

Caitlin, my name is Daniel and I will be studying abroad next semester. I am actually studying in Germany but, while I am abroad, I am definitely going to visit Paris. I have heard such mixed things about Paris that it's nice to hear something positive for once! The only problem is that I do not speak any French. Do you think it would be difficult to get by in Paris without a background in French?

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry that I didn't answer sooner! I hope you guys have a great time and don't worry about a thing.

Chris: at the beginning my French was terrible and I still managed to get by. Most of the time when you speak in broken French the people will respond in English so if you really want practice tell them so and dont get frustrated. They are not trying to me rude.

Rachel: I am assuming you are past the picking class stage by now (again sorry) my classes turned out to be really easy and a lot of fun. As for culture shock the hardest thing to adapt to was the language, though most people speak English any announcements on the metro were in French and I had no idea what was happening.

Daniel: In my program we had people who had been taking french since high school, some whose family lived in France and others who have never so much as taken a class. You will be fine. And they were there for a whole semester. Like I said with Paris being so touristy most definitely speak English

11:31 AM  

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