Hey! I’m Mairead (like ‘parade’ but with an ‘m’, hence the title of the blog), and I’m a junior at Smith College. I started this blog during my senior year of high school to keep people up to date with my medical mysteries, and kept it updated through my gap year. It has since fallen by the wayside but I decided to bring it back for my junior year since I’ll be studying abroad in Paris!
I made all of my older posts private because a lot of them were embarrassing and repetitive due to the “stay at home and sleep” nature of my senior and gap (/nap) years. I also have changed some of my opinions and such so I didn’t want all of those blatantly out there for the world to see. Someday I’ll probably be mortified by the things I’ll write this year and make all of these private as well, but for now I just want to have some record for myself (and others!) of what living in the city of lights is like.
I’ve studied French for many years now, and while I’m not planning on being a French major, I still want to get better at the language. Where better to do that than Paris? My school also has a dedicated program in Paris and I’ll be able to take chemistry classes there in French so I won’t fall behind in my major.
Where will you be living?
I’ll be staying with a host family in the 14ème arrondissement (Paris is broken up into 20 arrondissements, basically neighborhoods). I’ll take the métro/tram/other public transportation to get around the city.
Where are you going to be taking classes?
I’ll be taking classes at Reid Hall, and at Paris VII. Reid Hall is owned by Columbia University and has a number of American universities based there including Smith. Smith is also in a consortium with Hamilton and Middlebury so I might take classes with students from those schools. I’ll also be taking classes at Paris VII, a French university that focuses on STEM fields.
Wait, so is everything taught in French?
Yes, literally every class I’ll be taking will be in French. I have to take a language pledge to only speak French with my Smith classmates.
How long are you going to be there?
Short answer? The whole academic year. Long answer? The academic program goes until the end of May but depending on if I get an internship and if I want to go back to Smith to do research next summer, I might end up staying longer.
Are you excited?
Umm… Prefer not to answer that one. I’m sort of having all of the feelings right now. Mostly nervous/terrified. But I am excited to actually be in France again. I really loved my time in high school there. But the thought of actually living with a host family and doing school work in another language in another academic system is more than nerve wracking for someone of my disposition.
Are you going to be blogging?
I guess this answers that question.