Pre-Departure Part 1: Paris is Always a Good Idea!

Gwen Lee
January 12, 2016

Bonjour and enchanté!

Me representing my college, go Babson! I just delivered my first rocket pitch that day. This was also my profile picture for a while.

My name is Gwen and I will be leaving for Paris in less than two days! I am so excited to explore the city of romance and dine like a queen. It’s a dream come true to study abroad in the city of love as a sophomore. Despite all of the amazing things that comes with the idea of going to Paris, the reality of studying more than two hundred miles away is daunting. And with the departure day so close, there is so much to be nervous about. The culture shock is huge and the language difference is an additional challenge. I can think of so many “what-if’s.” There are so many awkward situations that are bound to occur due to misunderstanding and miscommunication. Audrey Hepburn, one of my many idols, once said, “Paris is always a good idea.” I believe her, but she spoke French, along with five other languages. What if I ask for a bathroom and no one can understand me because of my accent?

My French is a work in progress. As of right now, I am a solid 11% fluent in French. I took the three years of French classes in high school but it seems that as soon as I left for college, my ability to comprehend French left as well. I am embarrassed to admit that if I had to retake the last French final I took as a junior in highschool, I probably would not pass. However, the introduction to the language definitely sparked my interest in the IES Abroad - Business and International Affairs program. Also, after many lessons on Memrise, a language-learning app, I have slowly regained some of my high school knowledge. A bit of background in the language will definitely help me at least get to my homestay. We’ll see how it goes from there.

The Paris program firmly grabbed my attention when I learned that a friend, an alumnae of IES Abroad Paris, had taken a class on marketing that specialized in various brands of wine. Marketing AND wine? I was sold. Marketing fascinates me and allows me to think creatively, but marketing wine takes my passion to a whole new level. I have always admired my parents’ friends who can pair different wines to certain meals while hosting us for dinner. I would love to entertain guests for dinner and fabulously suggest a Pinot Noir for a fancy dish. This class sounded magical, like a course only offered at Hogwarts.

I applied with an essay outlining my prior marketing experiences as a sales and business development manager for a scarf company as well as a campus ambassador for a jewelry company. I also wrote about my goal of achieving fluency in French and my intention of learning to be more open minded. I hope to be able to connect to people from all cultures, a crucial skill in the increasingly global business world. I researched the curriculum offered and was more than satisfied with the program’s unique marketing classes. Several weeks later I celebrated my acceptance to the program along with my other classmates who had also applied to study abroad for the spring of 2016!

Studying business in Paris is an opportunity that will culminate in stories and experiences that will not only boost my resume but also further my personal growth. As nervous as I am to figure out a whole new metro system, speak in a foreign tongue, and acclimate to a new culture, I am excited to take on the challenge and I am hopeful that some of my experiences in high school and marketing internships will guide me along the way. Seeing the Tour Eiffel sparkle for the first time, meeting my homestay family and learning their culture while potentially taking a course on wine (our course schedules have not been set yet) is a dream come true. I am beyond ecstatic for January 12, 2016 to arrive so that I can board the plane and start an entirely new chapter in my life!

À Plus Tard! (the formal French way of saying “Ttyl”)

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Gwen Lee

<p>Salut! Je m&#39;appelle Gwen. I am a sophomore at Babson College and currently about 11% fluent in French. I hope to remedy that while wining and dining in the beautiful city of Paris. I am majoring in Business with a focus in Marketing. Follow along my stories to experience the ups and downs of studying abroad à Paris!</p>

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