Ariel in Paris #1: A Late Start

Hey guys! Today’s post is something very different from the sorts of things that I normally post on this blog—it’s not book-related in any way. As some of you might know, I am currently in France for a semester abroad, and I’ve decided it would be fun to keep a little log of my experiences while I’m here. Ideally, I would have started this back when I actually got here over a month ago, but that didn’t end up happening. At any rate, though, I’m starting it now! Better late than never, right?

I don’t necessarily have a plan for these posts, I just thought I could talk a little about some cool things I’ve done or some feelings I’m having—whatever, really. The current plan is to post one of these on Friday or Saturday every week until I go back home in May—we’ll see how well that turns out.

Today, since it’s the first post and everything, I thought I would talk a little about what exactly I’m doing here/why I decided to do this—just some general introduction stuff, basically.

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Some of you might know that I have been taking French classes since middle school—that’s almost 8 years now. And yet, with all those years of schooling, I never really felt like I was improving in the ways I wanted to improve—namely, speaking. I’ve learned a lot of grammar and writing and reading, but until I got to college, none of my teachers really made us practice speaking the language.

After I got to college, that changed. My professors were more vigilant than my high school and middle school teachers had been about making us speak French in class, but I’m not the kind of person who speaks very much in class even when it’s not in a second language, and even if I were, that would still only be about 3 hours of practice per week, with all the rest of my time spent speaking English.

So I decided I needed to kick it up a notch, and I signed up for a French immersion study abroad program in Paris (it also helped that I love travelling and I have always wanted to go to Paris anyway). And let me just say: I’ve only been here for a little over a month and already I feel like my spoken French has significantly improved (and my listening skills, too, for that matter).

I’m still taking classes like I would normally, and doing homework—all the not fun stuff that goes with being in school. The twist, though, is that all of those classes are taught in French and students are required to speak French while in classes or on school grounds. On top of all that, well, I’m in Paris—I hear French spoken all around me every single time I step outside. And I hear it quite often while inside, too, for that matter, since I’m living with a French host family.  

Making the decision to come here was really scary. You see, I’m somewhat of a homebody. I don’t really like to talk to new people or leave my comfort zone, and I’ve also never been away from home for longer than a month or two. The idea of leaving not only my home, but my country for 4 months was a scary prospect for me, one that I’m still a little amazed I actually went through with.

So far, though, I think it was a good decision. I’m excited to see what the remaining 3 (ish) months hold for me.

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That’s all I wanted to talk about for this first post today. Thanks for reading, and let me know down in the comments if you have any questions about my trip so far, or if you have any ideas for what kinds of things you would be interested in reading in these little updates. Like I said before, I don’t really have much of a plan for these posts, so any input would be greatly appreciated!

-Ariel

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