Where in the World is Miami Wednesday: Paris

Caroline with several other students at the Palais Garnier for a ballet performance (Tchaikovsky's Onéguine)
Caroline with several other students at the Palais Garnier for a ballet performance (Tchaikovsky's Onéguine)

By Megan Schulte, student study abroad ambassador

Eiffel tower in ParisWhat program you are on: I’m on a study abroad program through Middlebury College in Paris, France. There are around 40 undergraduate students here. About half are from Middlebury, and the others are from other colleges across the US. I’m taking classes at Middlebury’s campus here in Paris, but the majority of my classes are at Université Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle, located near the Latin Quarter on the left bank of the Seine.

If it’s a Miami or Third-Party program: Third-party program. It’s through Middlebury College, but I’m also directly enrolled in the Université Paris III.

What you are studying with your program: I’m studying French literature. In my classes, I’ve studied works by writers including Corneille, Racine, Roland Barthes, André Breton, and Francis Ponge.

I’m also taking two language classes. One advanced French language course is through Middlebury, and I’m actually enrolled in an introductory Latin course at Paris III (so I’m learning Latin from French, not English!).

University of Paris III called Sorbonne NouvelleWhy you chose the program that you did: I wanted a completely immersive and challenging experience.

Everyone on Middlebury’s program signs a language pledge at the beginning of the semester promising to only speak French for the length of our stay in Paris. Other than a few FaceTime calls with friends and family from home, I haven’t really spoken English since the beginning of January.

Whether I’m drinking tea with my host mother, studying at the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (my favorite library) or getting to know the other Middlebury students, I’m living completely in French.

Library in Paris called Bibliotheque Sainte GenevieveCoolest place/thing that you have done so far: Honestly, being able to call Paris my home for an entire semester is pretty cool. I’m discovering Paris slowly and thoughtfully, and I don’t feel pressured to see or do everything in the city all at once.

Favorite part about the program: The language pledge! Every day I’m learning something new about French literature, language or life. I already notice an improvement in my French, and I’m really looking forward to the months to come.

Additionally, as a Parisian student I have free access to all museums with my student ID card. This means that I can enter museums including the Musée d’Orsay, l’Orangerie, the Panthéon, Centre Pompidou, and the Louvre whenever I want.

How study abroad has affected/changed you so far: I’ve only been here for a little over a month, but I do believe that I’ve become much more relaxed since I’ve arrived Paris. 

American and French cultures are both so nuanced that it’s impossible to compare the two, and for this reason I’ve begun to reflect more thoughtfully and openly on what I like about my home in Ohio. I’ve had many opportunities to explain my home in America to others, whether to other students in my program or to French students living here in Paris. I’m learning how to express the most familiar parts of my life in an unfamiliar language.

Are you a Miami student looking to study abroad?

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