Jumping into the deep end

Kobi Walsh
September 12, 2015

So I'm finally in Paris. 

I'm not entirely sure how the summer went so fast. Last I remember I was looking for abroad programs for the fall semester and wondering whether taking a semester to improve my French and not necessarily doing anything remotely related to my major would be a good idea. It all seems a little bit like a blur and I don't think it has entirely hit me that I will be spending the next 4 months in this amazing city. I have been settling into my apartment and getting into the groove of the Parisian lifestyle since I arrived in Paris, figuring out how to get around the city by metro and finding the best palces to grab baguettes on the way back from classes. I have been to Paris before many times, but never for more than about a week, so this is quite a new experience for me. A lot of my deciding to go abroad consisted of people telling me that it probably wasn't a good idea because my major requires a ton of classes that I won't necessarily be getting in Paris, followed by me deciding to do it anyways. One of my life goals is to acheieve fluency in a language, and immersing myself in the French language for a semester seemed like the best way for me to get to that point.

One thing that I have noticed going through orientation and meeting all of the other students is that there seems to be an ever-present bubble of English-speaking that is relatively unavoidable. In the IES Center there is a rule that 100% French will be spoken at all times, which is frankly, not super plausible in the beginning. Meeting new friends and having meaningful conversations just becomes that much more difficult if it is in a language that you are not entirely proficient in. Thus, while going out with other students and participating in the IES field trips, English seems to be switched to by default. That being said, it's a nice idea, although one that is really more for students who want to take it onto their own volition to abide by it. You really will only get good at French if you put in the effort and extra steps to make sure that you are on the right path towards fluency. 

Although I generally choose to speak in English to the other students, that does not mean that I am not commited to trying to improve my French. I am enrolled in a hardcore translation French class along with the mandatory French class; I am working to find an internship with a French firm for the semster, as well as enrolling in a cognitive and brain sciences class at a French university. So my opportunities to improve my French certainly won't be limited. When it comes down to it, improving my French is the entire reason behind my decision to take the semester to go abroad, so I'm trying not to squander the time that I have here. That also being said, it's really jumping into the deep end. My French is "emerging competent" as my mandatory French class dubs it, so pretty good, but by no means amazing. I entirely expect to face numerous challenges this semester in order to achieve the proficiency in French I'm aiming for, but hey that's half the fun. 

I will be taking photos this semester showcasing the beautiful city that I will be living in for the next 4 months, so stay tuned. 

À bientôt. 


More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs

Kobi Walsh

<p>I am a cognitive and brain sciences major at Tufts University minoring in entrepreneurial leadership. I have been shooting photos since my freshman year of high school, finding a passion in photography that has followed me to college. I will be enrolled in the French studies program of IES this fall, working to improve my fluency in French.</p>

2015 Fall
Home University:
Tufts University
Explore Blogs