High: Springtime in Paris

Jardin Luxembourg

Jardin Luxembourg

by Emily Upin

High:  Springtime in Paris

I’ve had a great end to this year abroad in Paris so it’s difficult for me to pick just one High of the springtime. But I guess I would have to say the springtime is my High. For one, the trees have leaves again which makes the world look alive. I haven’t had to use a metro because of the weather. People walk and restaurants open their terraces again.

I also got the chance to travel to the UK this semester. I spent 10 days in Dublin, Edinburg, and London and it did not rain once! What are the chances of that!?

Low:  An hour and a half long line

I visited Versailles. Despite the beautiful rooms, it was a horrible visit. I went on a Sunday. NEVER do that. The hordes of people were so insane. I waited in line for an hour and a half (which was better than the three hours I was told I would be waiting). Then just to get into the rooms I again had to wait. Once inside there were so many people in each room/hallway that I felt like I was swimming in a river of human bodies. It was horrible! Needless to say, I’m not good with crowds.

Lines at Versailles

Lines at Versailles

Glitter: A mix of English and French

Since it’s the end of the year (two weeks left!!) and my host mom doesn’t feel the need to force the French language down my throat, we’ve been getting along a lot better! We now speak a mix of English and French to each other. We laugh a lot more. It’s a lot more relaxed and really nice. We’ve gotten along better and maybe even became better friends.

Emily Upin is a junior at Smith College. She is studying abroad in Paris, France this academic year and couldn’t be more excited to eat lots and lots of cheese. At Smith she is a psychology and French double major. Her interests also include theater, journaling and fashion.

Low: Le Grippe

IMG_6529

IMG_6555by Emily Upin

High:  Prague!

The French have a weird break at the end of February. In the schools it’s called “Semaine du lecture” (reading week in the states… though there aren’t any midterms.) Anyways, I was able to travel for a week. I went to Prague! It was fantastic. The city was so beautiful. I lucked out and had gorgeous weather every day I was there. The trip was especially great because I got to spend time with one of my friends from Smith. It was so nice seeing her and it helped with some of my homesickness (see Low.)

IMG_6523Low:  Le Grippe

I got sick. And not just any sick, I got Le Grippe or the French equivalent of the flu. I was in bed for an entire week with an achy body, sore throat, and a super congested head (luckily the fever went away after the second day.) It was not fun to say the least and it made me homesick for my family and friends from home. Unfortunately, I’m still feeling the homesickness a bit.

Glitter: The Situation Room

I saw a really cool piece of theater with my French theater class. I probably wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t for this class, so I’m very grateful that I’m in the class! The show was called Situation Rooms. It was less of a play and more of an interactive “game.” There was an “audience” of 20 people. Each person was given an iPad and told to follow it. Then, we were let go into the scene which was a construction of multiple rooms all connected and intertwined. We followed our iPads which followed the stories of 20 different people all connected by something having to do with the arms trade or weapons in general. I don’t know if my description is doing it justice, but it was fantastic.

emily
Emily Upin is a junior at Smith College. She is studying abroad in Paris, France this academic year and couldn’t be more excited to eat lots and lots of cheese. At Smith she is a psychology and French double major. Her interests also include theater, journaling and fashion.

My Glitter: Something Familiar

IMG_6245-1 IMG_6247-1

by Emily Upin

High:  Visits from loved ones this month: Isaac (my boyfriend) and Heather (my sister). It was so great to have them both in Paris. I loved being the tour guide to this fantastic city. Turns out I must be a good tour guide. At the beginning of her trip Heather said, “I don’t get the big hoopla about this city.” After a week going to cafés, seeing the Eiffel Tower, walking in the Marais, and more she said: “I get it now. I don’t ever want to leave.” May is going to hard for me.

Low:  The Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks. I wasn’t in Paris at the time (I was in the South of France) so I didn’t have to witness or experience all the major scariness. But the attack at the Charlie Hebdo magazine was three metro stops north of where I’m living in Paris. It’s scary to realize that stuff like this can really happen in your own backyard. It really makes you think.

Glitter:  Hands down I loved spending the New Year in Paris with my boyfriend and one of my best friends from home. It was really nice to ring in the New Year with familiar faces, and to be in a city that has all of a sudden become so familiar. I can’t believe that just four months earlier I was getting lost on the metro or Google mapping the directions to a restaurant in a different arrondissement than mine. This city doesn’t seem big and scary. Paris feels smaller, easy to navigate, and like home. 

emily
Emily Upin is a junior at Smith College. She is studying abroad in Paris, France this academic year and couldn’t be more excited to eat lots and lots of cheese. At Smith she is a psychology and French double major. Her interests also include theater, journaling and fashion.

Study Abroad: Sharing the Good, the Bad and the Glitter

parisEditors Note: I recently had the pleasure of talking to author and Twenty in Paris founder Andrea Bouchaud. Andrea and I discovered we had something in common. We both believe in the importance of sharing the good and bad, the ups and downs. Andrea’s on a mission to prepare students for the ups and downs of study abroad and High Low Glitter is the place to share those marvelous and challenging moments with the ones back home who matter most.

Who doesn’t dream of passing the Eiffel Tower every day on your way to class? Or being able to eat yummy baguettes with most meals? It’s easy to see why many students dream of studying abroad in Paris. But studying abroad in the beautiful City of Light isn’t always as easy as one, two, oui. To better prepare yourself for the amazing experience of studying abroad in Paris, you need to know that there will be high, low, and glitter moments. Let’s take a look:

High: Paris. It’s true that Paris is a very beautiful city and is home to world-class museums, great food, and excellent universities. France is also conveniently located in the heart of Europe which makes traveling to other countries on breaks or long weekend trips easy and affordable.

Low: Paris. Paris is like the NYC of France. It’s not a good representation of what French culture is really like nor other French cities. My top 5 lows about living in Paris are strikes, graffiti, really smelly metro stations, pickpockters, and con artists.

Glitter: Paris. Paris is beautiful during the day, but it is spectacular at night. Why? Because it glitters! Literally. It’s called the City of Light for a reason. Paris at night is all lit up from the sparkling Eiffel Tower to the illuminated trees of the Champs-Elysées to the glowing silhouettes of every major monument. It’s a definite must see and a glitter moment that never dulls.

 

Andrea Bouchaud Author HeadshotHaving studied abroad in Paris for a year, Andrea Bouchaud understands that living in the City of Light isn’t always easy. Her hands on experience with French culture and language immersion as an American student inspired her to write 2 books – Twenty in Paris: A Young American Perspective of Studying Abroad in Paris (2013) and The Paris Diaries: The Study Abroad Experience Uncensored (2014) both on Amazon’s Kindle Store. Connect with Andrea at twentyinparis.net.

twentyinparis

Paris: Month 4 High Low Glitter

London Thanksgiving

London Thanksgiving

by Emily Upin

High:  I’m making headway in my projects for my various classes. I wrote an 8 page French Psychoanalysis paper, picked my topic for my Paris: Lecture d’une ville class, and am quite close to being done with my intensive French class. This all feels good as I can see the end of this academic semester! Along with these academic advancements I do feel like my speaking of the French language is advancing. I’m starting to understand people when they ask me questions. And when I respond they don’t automatically change to English!

Low:  They warned us that November was going to be the worst month this semester (mainly because it’s the mid-semester, the language isn’t “there” yet, and it starts getting busy as you’re gearing up for the end of the semester) and oh my lord it was HARD. There was a week or two where I was so overwhelmed. The end is in sight — just two more weeks! (Which in itself is another low, just two more weeks??? Where did the time go?)

Paris Thanksgiving

Paris Thanksgiving

Glitter:  Thanksgiving Europe Style! I was lucky enough to be able to go to my friend Kira’s house in London for her family’s Thanksgiving dinner (she and her mom are American and live in London.) It was so wonderful and so reminiscent of the Thanksgivings I have at home in MN which helped feel less homesick. Then on the actual day of Thanksgiving our Smith Program organized a lovely potluck Thanksgiving celebration. I decorated the table and it was quiet beautiful (if I do say so myself…) Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and to be able to have two lovely celebrations in Paris and London was quiet wonderful!

emily
Emily Upin is a junior at Smith College. She is studying abroad in Paris, France this academic year and couldn’t be more excited to eat lots and lots of cheese. At Smith she is a psychology and French double major. Her interests also include theater, journaling and fashion.

Paris: Month 3 High Low Glitter

The light is a bit goldener (don’t ask me how, it just is.)

The light is a bit goldener (don’t ask me how, it just is.)

by Emily Upin

High:  Paris in the fall. It is so lovely and so annoying at the same time. It’s so lovely because there are leaves that blow in the wind and crunch at my feet as I walk. The light is a bit goldener (don’t ask me how, it just is.) There’s a chill in the air, but the sun still shines and warms me, and the fall wardrobe is so fun (leather, and boots, and jeans, and scarves — I love it!) It’s annoying because it rains. A lot. BUT Paris in the rain is still so magical and lovely that even though it annoys me it makes me smile.

Low:  School. Or more specifically the French schooling system. It is so complicated and they teach so differently and the students are graded in such a different way that it is hard to wrap my head around it. I have no day-to-day homework but I am constantly bombarded and busy doing work that I just don’t understand it. Also, I feel like I should be getting this French language better than I think I do at this point. (Though I probably am not giving myself enough credit.)

Glitter:  I started going to visit my French friend at his school on Rock and Roll night. Basically it is a big dance party but not gross a Amherst party dancing: swing dancing. He’s started teaching me how to do it by dancing with me and IT’S SO FUN! I’m not good at dancing (examples: I step on his feet and I almost fell when he dipped me) but it is still amusing and apparently I’m improving (according to him).

emily
Emily Upin is a junior at Smith College. She is studying abroad in Paris, France this academic year and couldn’t be more excited to eat lots and lots of cheese. At Smith she is a psychology and French double major. Her interests also include theater, journaling and fashion.

High Low Glitter: Paris, Month 2

It’s hard but the little moments where my French works and people can understand me are the best!

by Emily Upin

High: Settling into life in Paris feels really good. I know where my classes are (after changing rooms twice they are finally in the same place every week). I am accustomed to eating with my host mom and fellow Smithie in the evenings. I love my room. The tiny shower is getting easier to maneuver. And the French is coming slowly but steadily.

Low: It’s just now beginning to get ugly — I mean that in terms of the weather. The lovely sunny skies of summer are turning cloudy and dark. The clouds that were once just full and happy are now dark and filled with wet, cold rain. I am starting to understand why people say go to Paris in the summer, or spring, or early autumn. It’s going to keep getting nasty. I’ll weather the weather but it won’t be fun. (Hehe pun.)

Glitter: The little moments I have of complete understanding are definitely worth the hardships of the process. I can go get a coffee now and know what they are asking me, I can take myself out to dinner and order in French, I can go to a store and ask a question in French. It’s hard but the little moments where my French works and people can understand me are the best! Also people have started coming up to me on the streets asking me where stuff is. Even though I don’t know where most of the stuff is, I still feel pretty good that they asked me. Isn’t it said that when people start asking you directions you look like a local? Whoo I’m a local!

emily
Emily Upin is a junior at Smith College. She is studying abroad in Paris, France this academic year and couldn’t be more excited to eat lots and lots of cheese. At Smith she is a psychology and French double major. Her interests also include theater, journaling and fashion.

High Low Glitter: Paris

by Emily Upin

Week One

High: Paris. It is everything you think it would be and more. The streets are small and European. The buildings have the most beautiful old architecture. The cars are très petit. The Seine is beautiful. The metro is dirty but fun. Basically my high is Paris but it is also being able to navigate around Paris. I’m doing a really good job with that. I recognize things already!  And can imagine what else I’ll be able to do a few months from now!

Low: I’m sick! The first week in Paris and I get a cold or un rhume as the French call it. My nose is running as are my eyes. My chest hurts a bit and because of that I haven’t been able to go out and explore as much as I have wanted to. I’m getting my rest though so I will be able to go wander and explore soon.

 

    

 

Glitter: I have a few glitters…

  1. My host mother. She is wonderful and THE BEST cook. She helps me with speaking French and only gets a little annoyed when I butcher it completely.
  2. My room in my host mom’s apartment is très parisien with a big window and an even bigger mirror. Also, the bed is so comfortable.
  3. While wandering around Le Gare du Lyon I happened upon a vending machine that sold only nail polish. It had every color you could imagine and each bottle only cost 6 euros. So cool!

 

emily
Emily Upin is a junior at Smith College. She is studying abroad in Paris, France this academic year and couldn’t be more excited to eat lots and lots of cheese. At Smith she is a psychology and French double major. Her interests also include theater, journaling and fashion.