Location: Paris, France, Summer 2018
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Term Abroad: Summer '18
Majors: Law in Liberal Arts
Minors: French, English, Music
Program Name: Paris IES Summer Internship
Best Memory from Abroad
My best memory was walking the Versailles Gardens in the early morning. My sister and some friends had come to visit Paris for a week and wanted to see Versailles. I had already seen the chateau, so I decided to tour the gardens alone. I walked all through the gardens and around the massive pond. I got to watch young boys race their boats, a family ride around the gardens on horseback, gardeners trim the trees, swan families and sheep forage for breakfast. I also visited Marie Antoinette’s little farm and the Trianon Palaces later that afternoon, all of which are a must-see.
I took two classes (6 credits) that went toward my French minor. The first class really helped me learn about the French business world and the second helped me with my French oral comprehension. It made for a long day as the classes were in the evening after my internship, but my host family was kind enough to eat dinner late with me and I really couldn’t have improved my French as much as I did without them.
Initial Thoughts on Arrival
“What have I done?” and “I can’t believe I finally get to live in France!” It was a romantically dismal arrival since it was gray and rainy as I was being taxied to my host family’s house from the airport and saw the famous landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower for the first time.
I lived with a very kind host family who spoke hardly any English. Madame and Monsieur Jappont treated me like a princess and were very patient with me and my French speaking skills. Their youngest daughter and dog lived there as well and made me feel comfortable. It was with their family that I learned to appreciate the World Cup and artichokes! I also appreciated their apartment’s proximity to my program center and the Luxembourg Gardens.
My internship was with Kids Empowerment, an NGO that is working on an app for immigrant and refugee children coming to France, particularly those who are unaccompanied. We also worked on a comparative study focusing on countries’ domestic policies regarding immigrant children. My job was to edit the individual reports for the study which came from non-native English speakers at law firms and universities around the world and were eventually published on the Kids Empowerment website.
I had a job on campus all year which helped make money. I also applied and was granted the International Experience Scholarship and Mentor Grant, which helped tremendously. The expenses that were left I covered with a federal student loan.
Leisure & Travel
Because of my internship and classes, travel was pretty strictly only on weekends. I didn’t travel outside of France but traveled lots of places within! It is hard to run out of things to see in France. Some of my favorite places to go were Josephine Bonaparte’s home in Rueil-Malmaison, the Medieval city of Provins, and Reims.
I had heard that the French are very rude, but I didn’t experience that at all! Everyone I met was extremely kind to me. They were very helpful and loved to offer advice.
Hand over your student ID with confidence when entering any museum, chateau, or monument. My friends and I got into absolutely everything for free this way except the Paris Zoo and the Provins village tour.
Effect on Career Goals
This trip really did affect my career goals in a major way. I learned that I am not as interested in international law as much as I thought I was. I kept finding myself more concerned with the goings on in US law and politics than France, the EU, or the UN. But it definitely confirmed my interest in law generally, as well as editing. I mastered the hierarchy of laws and really honed my editing skills for professional and educational works.
Definitely have a picnic dinner of baguettes, cheese, wine, and chocolate mousse with a friend or two on the Seine at least once. The ambience is spectacular in the evening and you get beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais, and the Notre Dame depending on where you choose to sit. It’s sometimes the simplest things that are the most enjoyable.