2011 Fall External Programs France Kenny Thapoung

Paris, je t’adore!

Bonjour de Paris!

I’m finally here!!

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in PARIS for an entire month now.  So surreal, so much fun, and yet so little time!  You know those friends of yours that go abroad to Rome, Italy, or Japan and they won’t put a cork in it about what a blast they’re having?  Totally me.

It’s a shame I won’t be an Owl this semester.  I know Temple offers a France study abroad program during the summer, but I wanted a longer stay than three months, you know?  And with very few Paris options available for me, I picked the one program that had great reviews, and classes I would actually enjoy. CIEE has a total of 50 students within the Paris program, everyone at his or her own level.  Naturally, I placed in the top tier (I may or may not have used study guides on my placement test…).

The center where I take my five core classes is tucked away within the textile district.  Classes on grammar and conversation are total givens, but after those two, we’re free to take whatever elective we want (foolish me thought it would be OK to take French-only classes).  My favorite class however, is phonetics because I actually get to learn exactly how, and more importantly, why there are different pronunciations in the French language.

A typical day of class can last between two and a half hours to nine hours.  Luckily there’s a Starbuck’s right down the road!  But as much as I love seeing all of my new friends at the center every day, I wanted to branch out from the crowd and actually meet Parisians.  Hence, I’m auditing a cinema class called “Esthétiques et Philosophies d’Arts” at the Université Diderot.  That, and a badminton class for fun!

But after an arduous day at school, I come home to my host, Hans.  What? I don’t live in a dorm with other students?  Nope!  How else would I be able to immerse myself with the Parisian culture on a day-to-day basis when I’m smothered with Facebook updates and English-speaking friends everyday?  Hans is always chipper – which can be annoying when all I want to do is crash in bed – but my French would not have improved without him constantly speaking to me.  Every Sunday is “family dinner” when Hans and I sit outside on the terrace and eat a three-course meal over wine and gossip over boys.  The awkward turtle rears its tortoise head when the conversation dies because I lose my French chain of thought or I’m just at a loss for French vocabulary.

My new room!

I’ve never seen a more beautiful city.  Streets are constantly being cleaned of leaves and trash, dogs have no tendency to bark towards each other, and the architecture dates back to, geez, I don’t know when!  I bet you’re dying to ask me if the Eiffel Tower is worth the hype, and honestly, it is.  A cool-breeze picnic under the steel magnificence is my ideal date.  My friend Karly and I have pinky-promised to climb those stairs before we…leave.  Buns of steel, here we come!

Why hello Notre Dame.

And Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this, please send more money!  Paris is NOT cheap!

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