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Being a Journalism Major in Paris

February 03, 2020
by Vonnai Phair
CDG - Spring - V. Phair - Apartment View

Paris: the city of love, the city of light, and perhaps the best place on Earth to be a journalism major, a hopeless romantic, and a dessert addict.

This blog post is intended to shed light on being a communications student in Paris, but I also want to share some tidbits of wisdom and gathered knowledge from my (almost) month of living here.

So, as I sit here writing my version of an advice column in my cozy Parisian apartment, I couldn’t help but wonder (in true Carrie Bradshaw style), in a city as inspiring as Paris, just exactly how much will studying abroad help my writing?

CDG - Spring - V. Phair - Cafe + Journal

Now, don’t get me wrong; Studying abroad in Paris has ignited the writer within like no other. How could it not, with all of its corner cafés and neighborhood bakeries enticing one to spend some time?

As a student, I have so much time to let slip by and minutes to muse -- walking to school, walking to the bakery, walking to museums, walking, walking, walking. All of this time for reflection has forced me to find a physical place for all of my thoughts. Pen and paper are my new best friends, and in close second is the notes section on my iPhone.

CDG - Spring - V. Phair - Paris at Dusk

As a communications major, I naturally write a lot! It’s truly the most familiar and comfortable method of processing my thoughts and emotions, and I’ve been having a lot of them since being plopped down into a new city (note to other study abroad students: you’re not alone!).

Day by day, I am visited by emotions that are evident and influential and raw, and they are serving as the perfect commanding spark to my writers’ flame, which has forced me to slow down and actually soak up what it means to be living in this beautiful city!

I saw this advice online the other day, and I think these words describe better than my own how study abroad students should spend time reflecting, just like writers and journalism majors do: You’d better slow down. Don’t dance so fast. Time is short. The music won’t last. When you run so fast to get somewhere, you miss half the fun of getting there. When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift thrown away. Life is not a race. Do take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.

CDG - Spring - V. Phair - Paintings_Words

At the beginning of my time in Paris, I found myself rushing through each day, afraid that I was going to miss out on something in a future that didn’t even exist. But when I slow down and give thought to why I’m really here, it forces me to return to my roots and write; transforming my short experience in Paris into a forever one on paper – it’s like studying abroad and journalism were just meant to be.

Vonnai Phair is the Spring 2020 CEA MOJO Blogger in Paris, France, and is currently studying at Washington State University.
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