The University of Charleston, South Carolina at the College of Charleston and the Université de Versailles – Saint Quentin have an exchange program which affords a unique opportunity for graduate students to teach and conduct independent research at a university in the southwest suburbs of Paris. Established in 1994 by Dr. Olejniczak of the History department, the Graduate School has sent nearly 20 College of Charleston students to France with great success. We recently checked in with the 2014-2015 fellow, Margaret Edling, to hear about her experience after her first semester. Margaret is a student in the History program and the 2013-2014 Graduate Student Association President.
Hey y’all! My name is Margaret Edling and I am the 2014-2015 Versailles Fellow currently living in Paris. I am one of four English teaching assistants at the University of Versailles, Saint Quentin; two of the teaching assistants come from universities in the UK and the other comes from Clark University in Massachusetts. The four of us teach all of the English conversation classes and help the students with their fluency. Most of my students are quite proficient in English and have a great attitude which makes teaching them enjoyable.
Since the conversation classes are split between the four of us I have a lot of time to explore Paris and work on my thesis. My thesis topic focuses on Joseph Glanvill and his perceptions of witchcraft in England, and I am currently planning a trip to visit the Royal Society in London to do research at their archives. I am excited about being able to do this archival research because it would not have been possible from Charleston.
This experience has been exciting and has allowed me to experience the French culture first hand. I was in Paris when the Charlie Hebdo and grocery stores attacks occurred and it was interesting to see the French reaction. The Sunday after the attacks over a million people gathered in Paris to march and show their support; so many people participated that the French government made the metro free to accommodate the masses. And although I have seen an increase in security at some public places, for the most part everyone has continued to go about the city without fear. Daily life has not changed and it is nice to see people coming together in support rather than torn apart by this terrible event. Overall I have enjoyed my first few months in Paris and am looking forward to what the next semester holds!
We are currently accepting applications for the Versailles Program for the 2015-2016 academic year. Visit the Versailles Program page of our website for eligibility information and requirements.
Applications are due February 1, 2015.