Can a study abroad experience truly be “life-changing?”
It is common to hear from people who have studied abroad that their experience in another country was “life-changing.” I am not sure if that that phrase is more of a cliché than a literal assertion, but as I am nearing the beginning of my semester in Paris I want to form my goals and aspirations around the facilitation of life-changing experiences.
By this, I mean that I want to make my semester in Paris a semester where I gain new skill sets, habits, and daily practices that may quite literally change my life.
Academically, I hope to be able to gain a deeper understanding of rigorous academic topics in French. I want to be able to read and learn about philosophy, art, and architecture in France in the language that they were created. It would be extremely gratifying to be able to combine the skill sets that I have acquired from my Politics and Philosophy as well as French majors into a culminating challenge like reading Voltaire in French.
I will be able to reach this goal by pushing myself out of my comfort zone in the classroom setting. In Paris, I will study at Institut Catholique de Paris and take classes that are taught in French but pertain to politics, society, art, and philosophy.
Professionally, I hope to become fluent in the French language. Being fluent in not only English and Romanian but also French will give me an edge in the professional arena, especially since I plan on eventually entering the field of international relations.
I will be able to reach this goal by constantly exposing myself to the French language. I hope to do this by taking classes in French, listening to French podcasts, reading books in French, and even changing my Netflix shows to French. If I am constantly exposed to the French language, I will hopefully become much more proficient.
At the personal level, I hope to meet people from all over the world. My program at Institut Catholique de Paris is full of international students who have a common understanding of the French language, so I hope to be pushed out of my comfort zone by speaking to people who know little to no English. This way, I will be able to learn about new perspectives and cultures while also practicing my French.
I also hope to become healthier while I am in Paris. France has a different culture regarding the quality and quantity of food that is eaten in any given day. I hope to take full advantage of the good food in Paris while also running and walking around the city.
My final goal is to explore as much of Paris and as much of France that I can during my semester. France is extremely unique and beautiful, and it would be a waste to stay in my apartment all day and not explore.