A Semester in Paris by Ellen Snyder

Hi, my name is Ellen Snyder and I’m a junior at the College of Charleston with a double major in International Studies with a European concentration and French and Francophone Studies. For the 2019 fall semester, I am studying abroad in Paris, France through the IES French Studies program. I chose this program because I loved the idea of being in a major city and because it would allow me to practice my French as much as possible. My goals while abroad are to practice French, meet new people, and explore all that Europe has to offer. I had visited Paris in 2016 for a week long high school program, so I had a base line knowledge of the city, but prior to coming I made sure to brush up on the map and get to know where the major hubs are within the city.

Something that has been an adjustment here is getting used to commuting to class and taking the metro almost everywhere. In Charleston, I can usually run out the door to class with 5 minutes to spare, but in Paris that is not the case. I have to allot an hour to make it to class on time via the metro, needless to say it has been a big change. I had no trouble navigating the metro since I have visited many major cities in the US with big underground transportation systems like New York, DC, and Chicago. However, the need to account for time to take the metro each morning meant I had to adjust my morning routine. At first taking the metro for that long was difficult, I was always looking up at every stop waiting and waiting to finally get to Denfert-Rochereau. Eventually I got used to it thought and now it is just a part of my day to day routine here. I actually have started to enjoy it. I get to sit for 40 minutes and listen to music, or read a book or even study for an exam if needed. Getting used to commuting was definitely difficult at first, but like anything adjusting to it takes time and patience. When I get back to Charleston the 5-minute walk to class will be so novel, but I think I might miss the little bit of solitude the metro brings me each morning here.

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