Now that the first week of full classes has gone by I can admit that this is going to be a very busy semester! 4 days out of the week my schedule is packed and then the other three days I’m like this:
This semester I’m taking 3 classes at Sweet Briar (the program I’m studying abroad with), 1 class at the Sorbonne, and I have an internship at the École Militaire.
My study abroad program finds internships for the spring semester students and so I’m working in a journalism/international relations office where I’m translating and will soon be writing my own policy analysis articles. I had to create a CV all in French and apply like normal, but now I have one of the undoubtedly coolest internships in all of France. I’m probably one of the dozen un-uniformed people there and I am constantly surrounded by generals and strange French working customs.
For example, you give handshakes at the office in France! (Which is weird for France. I’ve stuck my hand out several times only to be awkwardly stared at.) But of course if you’re a girl you shake hands and do la bise (French cheek kiss thing) which is typically the only greeting I’ve been used to here.
I might just be super lucky, but also the attire for the non-military personnel is decidedly casual (albeit French casual which is miles ahead of American casual any day).
Class wise, at the Sorbonne I’m taking the History of the Middle East in the 20th century, which is covering everything from the creation of Israel to the Arab Spring in 2011. Most Sorbonne classes are simply continuations of the previous semester so I was a tad bit nervous about not knowing what happened in the Middle East in the first half of the 20th century. Then the professor handed out the final exam from last semester and there was a big picture of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk so I knew I was going to be all right. (If you don’t know I did a big research project in Turkey last year and Atatürk was kind of the founder of the modern Turkish state)
My professor is clearly an expert on the subject of the Middle East, she’s easy to understand, and she informed me (the only foreign student in the class) that I will not have to take the final exam at the end of the semester.
For my Sweet Briar classes I’m continuing with the amazing grammar class and I’m taking the History of Art in France in the 19th and 20th centuries, which is basically a continuation off of last semester. (This is the same class where we visit the museums in person for class). I’m also taking the History of France and Europe in the 20th century, which I should drop because I only need to take 3 classes because of my internship, but it seems like a really interesting and useful class since I would get to know more about recent French history. (Which you know could be useful for an aspiring diplomat)
I’m also continuing to give English lessons to family’s kids a couple hours a week for a few extra euros.
Gotta pay for my pastry and coffee addiction somehow! (Actually let’s be honest: I’m starving and saving all my money for the opera)
Oh also… It snowed this weekend. This Texan girl was like this:
(I had never seen snow fall before. It was a good day.)
Anyone want to hazard a guess from the gifs where I’m thinking of travelling next? (If you guessed England you would be right!)
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