Tag Archives: classes


When I originally made this blog, I meant it to be a way for my family and friends to keep in touch, a source for students who might study abroad after me, and most importantly, a record of my experiences in Paris, so as to not forget anything. Now, almost a year later from when my program ended, I’m contemplating starting it up, following my experiences after graduation. How often I’ll actually update throughout the next year, who knows. But, I figure now is a good time to update about my year after Paris and what I plan to do next.

So, last semester I overloaded myself with courses in order to finish my college requirements, explore some ideas for the future, and start my dream of learning more languages. I took an environmental statistics course which not only helped explain the method behind the numbers, but also fostered my hippie, environmental side. Whether this means I’ll actually reduce my effect on the planet, or if I’ll fall back into old consumer habits, only time will tell. In my Maghrebin film class I continued to practice my French while learning how to pick apart and decipher films. In my art history course I got even further proof that I should not be a curator, but that was fairly obvious to begin with. My last two courses were Intro Spanish and Arabic. There I learned that while I admire anybody who speaks Arabic and love writing in the language, my passion lies in the romance languages. While all these courses did make for a stressful semester, it allowed me to take a much lighter load for my last semester at college.

This semester I decided to continue with Spanish, although I’m incredibly disappointed that I won’t be able to follow up with Spanish 130 at Goucher, which would have allowed me to learn subjunctive in Spanish, my favorite French grammar point. My class includes an online portion where we talk with students in Mexico, a half hour in Spanish, a half hour in English. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep speaking with these students and keep my Spanish skills up.

While I chose to stop taking Arabic class, I decided to take an Arabic culture course instead. I feel incredibly lucky to be reading Palestinian, Egyptian, and Lebanese authors, given how anti-middle east our country can be.

I also took a course in Arts Administration. I wish somebody had told me to take this course as a freshman, because this would have completely changed how I spent the past four years. I LOVE Arts Administration. My professor was amazing and I would have loved to have taken more classes and possibly double majored.

Finally I took Intermediate Astronomy with the most amazing professor at Goucher. Science still doesn’t come easy to me, but thanks to the help of my professor, I now know about the universe, general relativity, and multiple ways to find the distance to a star.

So, this post turned out a little random. It was started a couple months ago, and finished almost a month after my graduation. But, I wanted  to write something so that years later when I’ve forgotten what I did in college, I’d have something to look back on.

I’m going to try and update with some random posts this summer. To anyone who still checks this from back in the days of my Frenchie travels, make sure to check back in September when the real updates will hopefully start again. 🙂


Two weeks

So, it’s officially been two weeks since my last update and by this time tomorrow I’ll have made it through two weeks of classes. Safe to say, vacation is officially over.

This semester I’m living in the same foyer, but now I’m doing IFE instead of GPP. Which means I have 5 weeks of classes, then a full-time stage at a children’s art museum (Musée en herbe). Class runs from Monday – Friday from 9am until 2:30.

These past two weeks have been insanely busy thanks to amazing new friends that keep me up late talking, old friends who I never get to see enough, and this thing called homework that I haven’t had to deal with for a while. I also finally made it to the Monet exhibit at the Grand Palais. It was incredible! I got to see so many sides of Monet’s work that’s normally hidden in museums half way across the world. Also, they had Monet’s cathedral paintings right next to Lichtenstein’s own version of those paintings. Which made my day to have two of my favorite painters from my two favorite time periods right next to each other.

I also managed to get sick over the weekend. It really shouldn’t have been a shock for me, not sleeping normally doesn’t have good side effects, but it was still annoying to miss a day of school and to deal with being sick in another country.Thankfully I feel better now and Mommy gave me some very good advice from overseas.

The classes here at IFE are pretty darn good. The morning’s tricky because the class starts at 9am and goes until 12:30, but thankfully I like the prof and what we’re learning so it’s a little easier to stay awake. Although, last week I did have to actually drink coffee, drink, not taste and spit out, but drink. I hadn’t slept that much the night before and I actually started falling asleep in class. I only slightly gagged while drinking it, slightly. How do people drink that stuff straight?

My afternoon class basically consists of people doing projects and then the professor going off about whatever the subject was about. It can get a little redundant but it’s really cool to see just how much the professor knows. Also, I’m actually learning stuff from the projects, so it’s probably better than just sitting in class listening to a teacher.

It’s weird to compare this semester to last. Last semester I was in a really small group, on my own alot, and only hung out with 1 or 2 Americans. This half, I believe we have 26 or so kids total in IFE. Being in a small group last half is really helping me now since I was forced to ask questions with our tiny little class last half, and I was forced to not care how my French sounded. I’m really glad I did GPP first though because now instead of going through the transition to all French classes, I can just enjoy the class. And I already know French class etiquette so I’m not squirming in my seat because I can’t eat in class. much. It is quite an adjustment to be with people so often throughout the day. Last half I was alone walking to my stage, in the metro, and just in between class and dinner and vague times like that. Now, I’m pretty much only alone when I sleep or when I specifically chose to be. There are 5 other IFEers living in my foyer and 1 GPPer, so there is always somebody to walk with or just somebody around since we’re all on the same schedule. And since I’m hanging out with IFEers so much, I’m spending almost all my time with Americans. It doesn’t help that some of my foyer friends recently got jobs that make them work late or have exams. It’s good because I’ve missed American culture and just… social cues and basic stuff, a lot, but it also means I’ve spoken way to much English, and I miss my Frenchies bien sur.

I know there’s plenty of things I missed by not updating more often the past couple weeks, but I’ll try and be better now that things are more settled. The important things to know are that I’m happy with IFE, I’ve met some great people, and I still have no desire to leave this beautiful city, even now in the cold.


9/9/2010 6:51 PM

I’ve been really bad about updates. Partly because I had a bad day and wanted to reflect before I posted anything, and partly because yesterday was pretty good and I just felt like going to bed instead of updating.

So, here’s the going ons.

Tuesday: Got my results for the Sorbonne course. I’m still not completely clear about my feelings on the results. I’m in the intermediate level, all the other people in my group are advanced. I’ve been in average courses all my life, so it’s not the level that bugs me so much as for once I wanted to be challenged. Also, I’ve been doing well at Goucher, like the other people in my group. I shouldn’t have gotten an A in a 300 level French class if I’m in an intermediate level. So, I’m annoyed that I apparently didn’t do well on the test, and I’m annoyed about the whole system of French learning.

But now that I’m in the class I like the people. (Also, my friends in the advanced class say that it’s really easy too, so maybe the whole Sorbonne system is easy) And I really like the phonetics class. I’m finally learning how to speak French!

Tuesday was also my first French strike. Very important moment in my life. J

The metro was insane. It worked but there were a lot less trains, so each train was completely packed, there was a line just to get into the waiting area for the train. Then once you got there, there was only room for one person to squeeze onto each car. It was very crazy and stressful, but everybody was nice about it.

Wednesday: Had class with Marie in the morning. I was excited because it was on French food, and we went to one of the oldest markets in Paris. But, most of the stalls weren’t really open, and the class wasn’t that interesting. But it’s good to know where the market is. Then we hurried to our first phonetics class, which consists of “repeat after me” and “so what would you do in this case.” Which I really like because I can finally focus on how I’m speaking French and the reasons behind it. Then we ran to our Grammar class, we only have half an hour between classes and we have to take the metro to get there. I like that we’re learning grammar that I never learned properly, but since it’s all technically review it can be annoying. However, I like my classmates and my prof (Anne-Sophie), so it’s all good.

I also met another American through my class, Lauren, so we’ve been hanging out a bit and it’s really nice to branch out beyond Goucher and the Foyer.

Wednesday night was really fun, I got to relax with friends and have lots of good food and tea (if you’re reading this THANK YOU BERT!). I think the end of the day, hanging out at the foyer, is one of my favorite parts of the day. It’s the only time I can really relax and not worry about that fact that my French is nowhere near perfect. Like, last night, we ended up doing some Karate just for the heck of it. So, it wasn’t “Jen trying to socialize in French” it was just a bunch of friends having a good time, which is something I really miss.

Thursday: Had class with Marie at IFE, where we discussed French politics, which is not more interesting in another language. I don’t think I’ll ever like politics, no matter what language it’s in. Then we ran to buy lunch, ran to the metro, got to class on time, and learned about when to use liaisons in French (such as saying un autre amie as u-nau-tra-mi, or something like that). Then got back on the metro to my grammar class, where I learned how to make phrases starting with Ce qui, Ce que, Ce don’t, et Ce a quoi. This was all review except for Ce a quoi. Then I tried to find a notebook and binder so I can start organizing all the papers I’ve gotten. Turns out notebooks and binders in France are very different. Instead of just being lines a lot of the notebooks are like graph paper, and the size of the paper is different. And then they have binders like at home, but most of them don’t have pockets or are made out of different materials. I know it’s just paper, but I wish I had brought more 5 star notebooks. Also, pens are more expensive, or at least the good ones that I like are. You can still buy a pack of really cheap ones. I bought some supplies since I know I just need to get use to the French way, I also found a cheap copy of Frankenstein in French :-D, so now I finally have something to read besides tamora peirce and Fanfiction.

Then I headed home, had dinner with Eliza and my British neighbor, and now I’m here “doing my homework.”

So, I’ll try to be better at updating, especially since we have a special excursion this weekend, but until then.

Bonne Soiree!