I have been living in Paris for a little more than one week and I love it so far. I’ve been writing pages and pages in my journal each night and it occurred to me that some of you (my mom, at least) would like to know more about my life here! So I’ve decided to give blogging another shot.
This post answers most of the questions I have been getting in the past few weeks, as I prepared to leave, and since I’ve arrived.
What are you doing in Paris?
I was selected as one of 12 students from the United States for a fellowship at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. I am working on the editorial team at the UNESCO Courier, a magazine which is published in 9 languages, at the World Heritage Center in Paris, France.
Do you speak French?
Luckily, my fellowship doesn’t require that I speak I don’t speak French — UNESCO operates both in French and in English. I tried to learn a little bit before I came here with Duolingo, but I was slammed with grad school and then the holidays and I didn’t arrive knowing as much French as I had hoped to. I am learning quickly as I navigate the metro, grocery stores, and bakeries (so many bakeries!).
What about graduate school?
I have not abandoned my graduate school dreams! I’m halfway through my masters of journalism, and this internship will count towards my degree. While I’m here working full-time I am also reading and researching for my terminal project. I will still graduate from the University of Oregon in June.
What about Franny?
My little Franny is staying in Medford with my mom! I have never been away from her for this long before and I miss her so much but it was totally out of the question to bring her with me.
How did you find housing?
I searched for housing on various student housing websites, but had no luck. Most of them had extremely high prices, also charged an agency fee, and required that I have a French bank account. It didn’t feel right to me, so I asked for help from everyone I know and also joined several student housing websites on Facebook, where I eventually got lucky (literally ten days before leaving for Paris!) (thank God it wasn’t a scam! I truly wasn’t sure until I arrived).
Where do you live?
I live in the Latin Quarter of Paris, the 5th arrondissement, with two wonderful Dutch girls and our Parisian landlady. It’s a top-floor flat in beautiful old building in a cute, safe neighborhood of Paris. I feel so lucky to have found it! It honestly couldn’t have worked out better.
What is the best part?
I tend to be a romantic thinker and always imagine places or situations with rose-colored glasses, but Paris has lived up to my every daydream. It is even more beautiful and fantastic and romantic than I could have ever imagined. I’m totally in awe. I also love my roommates and the picturesque neighborhood that surrounds our flat.
What is the hardest part?
Not knowing the language of a place can be quite isolating. Although I cherish the opportunity to think and write and exist in the little bubble this creates, it is hard to not know how to tell the girl on the metro that I like her shoes or chat effortlessly with people in line at museums. I also caught a virus while traveling here, and have spent the better part of this week taking cold medicine around the clock while also fighting to adjust to the +9 hour time difference.
How are you surviving without Mexican food?
Unsure… Stay tuned.
My fellowship at The UNESCO Courier was arranged through the University of Oregon Crossings Institute for Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict Sensitive Reporting. My weekly blog posts are also published on the Institute’s website.