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French Class & French Classes: Life in Paris

December 13, 2018
by Abigail Haley

As some of you may know, I am a documentary student back home, pursuing my art history minor abroad. I’ve already posted about how this decision and experience has helped me to transcend my field and grow transnationally; if you’re interested in reading more about my personal development you can find that blog post here.

In this post, though, I’d like to talk about the details of my course schedule -- something I was eager to know more about before making my final decision to come abroad. I am currently taking three 4-credit classes for a total of 12 credits Tuesday-Thursday. I am lucky enough to have a four-day weekend every weekend, which I would absolutely recommend if you can swing it… this has been hugely helpful in keeping me on track while maximizing travel time.

Back in the U.S., I have been known to overload my schedule and overwhelm myself with academics, extracurriculars and campus jobs -- I constantly feel burned out at the end of the semester. I intentionally used studying abroad as a break from that, a time to recuperate from the last documentary production season and transition into the next. But all of my newfound “free-time” has not gone to waste. I've used each free minute to explore my city -- a valuable learning experience in itself. The slow Parisian lifestyle has also taught me the importance of self care. Studying abroad in Paris has made me the happiest and most fulfilled I have ever been.

Personally, the biggest adjustment from my home university to CEA Paris was managing my time in a different way. Spending less time in the classroom -- to me -- translated to more time spent in museums, at monuments or new and immersive experiences. For now, instead of scheduling interviews and shoots, I'm scheduling tours and transportation. My most recent excursion: to Van Gogh’s hometown in the south of France.

And speaking of transportation: another main difference was going from a tiny school in upstate New York to having class in the center of a busy city. Factoring the metro into my morning routine and weekly excursions instead of class lectures hardly feels like an “adjustment” but they definitely take some getting used to. (Here's a picture of my grandparents learning the ropes during their visit this fall.)

I personally thrive in the city, so for me studying in Paris was the right choice. I would recommend considering places that make you feel most comfortable when choosing your study abroad location, as you will be calling it home for now -- and who knows… maybe forever! 

Abigail Haley is the Fall 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Paris, France, and is currently studying at Ithaca College.
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