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Becoming a Parisian - par Joseph Levy

Le coin des anciens

Now five years later, I remember my first day in Paris. After getting off the Métro, suitcase wheeling behind me, I walked into the first boulangerie I saw. I waited patiently in line, then said, “Bonjour! Un Croissant s’il vous plait.” The baker told me the price and gave me the croissant. Then I paid and I left. That was it. And it was magical.

For the first time in my life, after studying French for 7 years, I completed a full interaction entirely in French, not because my French teacher asked me to, but because here I was in Paris. I could have returned to the U.S. right then and been satisfied with my study abroad experience.

But I would have missed out on so much more. In French, I made bonds with my host family, especially my little host brother. In a class with French university students, I learned about psychoanalysis as a rigorous subject, which in the U.S. is only scoffed at and never taught. I spent nights speaking French with new friends in the basements of bars in Belleville. I danced and yelled in French as part of a parade of hundreds of roller skaters skating through the city to the sounds of old funk music. And eventually, my experience was no longer about doing all this in French. It was about this amazing city that I was becoming a piece of.

Thanks to my semester with EDUCO, a slice of Parisian culture is still a part of me years later and across the world in Colorado, and it will remain a part of me wherever I go next.  

Printemps 2020