[Broader World, Broader View]Experience of a Lifetime, "Paris, je t'aime!"
[Broader World, Broader View]Experience of a Lifetime, "Paris, je t'aime!"
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2006.11.29 00:00
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▲ Lee poses in front of SorbonneNouvelle Paris in France.

  Three years ago, when I was a freshman, I read an article in Ewha Voice written by a senior about her year as an exchange student in Paris. I was so fascinated about this, that I contacted her and met her one day. Soon, I made up my mind that I would also go to Paris as an exchange student. Three years later, I am writing my own article for Ewha Voice about how the year had been one of the best years of my life.
  At first, Paris was nothing like what I had expected. People were rude, administration was very slow, and some things were just plain weird: sandwiches on baguettes, buildings starting from floor zero, no toilet seats in public bathrooms
  I was even more disappointed when I got to my school.  Unlike its prestigious name, Universite Sorbonne-Nouvelle lacked government funding, which made it seem more like an old community center than a university. It was also hard to follow class, since all the professors were speaking really fast, without making anything easier for exchange students. Life really seemed different from what I had known until then.
  But then, I realized that I should be having the most fun of my life. When else could I spend a whole year in Paris, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, without worrying about visiting the most tourist attractions in one day or trying to earn a living? Besides, Paris was so filled with things to see and do, even one year was too short!
I went straight to the tourist information center, and found out how I could make the most out of my stay in Paris. At the Louvre, which was only 30 minutes away from home, I made a membership card which gave me free access to the museum without standing in line, and discounts on various tours and workshops. At the Opera Bastille, I was able to buy opera tickets for 5 euros on the day of the opera (after standing in line for 3 hours). Feeling a bit nostalgic about Korea, I went to the Korean Cultural Center to learn paper weaving and traditional knot-making with French "ajumas" During the last three months of my stay, I even did an internship at the Korean Embassy in France. This was an especially exciting experience, since this year was the 120th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Korea and France, highlighted by the official ceremony held at the Versailles in June.
  There was another event that marked my year in France. It was the massive student strikes that started in March to protest against the new labor law. The first day I went to school and found it blocked by students and piled desks, I thought it would only last a few days. Then, even the professors joined the strikes, and so did most of the universities in France. The strikes lasted for a total of two months until the government finally backed down. Once school started again, the professors announced that there would be no extra classes, and that the semester would end in May as planned! It really made me understand the term "the French exception,"and I realized once again that the world was a lot more diverse than what I had imagined it to be.
  As the application period for the exchange program is nearing again, I strongly urge all Ewha students to try out not just for countries they are already familiar with, but also for countries they only vaguely know about. It will truly be an experience of a lifetime!

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