The Fashion Capital
Lauren Cunningham - Paris, France
month at Paris Fashion Institute (PFI) was unlike any experience I
have ever had. It has been my life’s dream to travel to Paris, let alone study
there. While I had studied fashion before, I had never gotten close to the
knowledge I gained at PFI. Before leaving for Paris, it was hard for me to
comprehend what to expect. I had never been out of the country, let alone for
an entire month on my own. But I knew that in order to fulfill my dreams, I was
going to have to take some risks and get used to uncomfortable situations.
My First Glimpse of Angers
Rebecca Myers - CIDEF, Angers, France
My eyes popped opened as I heard a strange noise, an alarm clock whose sound I did not recognize. I did not know this bedroom, the light coming in from the window, or the walls. I did not dare think about what I had just been through in the past thirteen hours; I had traveled three thousand miles to Angers, France. I had endured an eight-hour plane ride, struggled to buy myself a train ticket from Paris to my final destination, I had been picked up and driven to a new house by my new French family, and I had just awoken from a nap in my new bedroom. Shoot, I reminded myself, don't think about it. Just get up. I knew that if I spent the time to soak it all in, I might not dare move from my bed.
Never in my wildest dreams...
Sarah Zalewski - CIDEF, Angers, France
While waiting for the train to come in, I felt like I was living in a dream. My host mom, Dominique, her friend Freddie, and my friend Kristin were with me. The day was really long already, filled with a full day of school and me waking up to a glowing cake made of crepes and heart candles. It was my birthday.
My Study Abroad Story
Hannah Faleer - Americans in Paris: French American Connections from the Revolutionary Era to the Present, Paris, France
I had never expected to visit Paris. It sounds odd, but the French culture didn't interest me that much, and Paris seemed too big, too touristy, too much. But when I found myself standing next to the Opéra national de Paris, completely alone and totally lost, I knew I was in for an interesting ride. I had decided to take a summer history class abroad, and Paris just happened to be where it was set. My teacher eventually found me and a few of the other jetlagged students and walked us down to where we would be staying. Even then, tired, hungry, and feeling displaced, I was unable to keep myself from marveling at the beauty of the city. I must have looked like such a tourist, trying to see everything at once, looking everywhere but where I was going.
Paris In June
Meg McNeal - Paris Fashion Institute, Paris, France
I have never travelled outside the USA, let alone by myself. Travelling to Paris was much more than I ever expected. At CMU I am an Apparel Merchandising major and Event Management minor. Being able to study abroad at the Paris Fashion Institute, in the month of June, (one of the prettiest months in France) I learned so much about the fashion industry. I have never taken any prior French, other than what I taught myself out of the traveler's translation guides, so I was very nervous about the language barrier and being behind fellow students in my class. Thankfully all the classes were taught in English and I wasn't the only one that only learned basic French by ordering food and asking directions around the city.
Uniting the Family Ties in Marseille, France
Patrick Kochyan - CIDEF, Angers, France
When I was growing up and started studying French, my Grandpa would talk to me about France and his heritage. Born in Istanbul, Turkey, he moved to the south of France at a young age and was raised in Marseille. I was always fascinated with his stories and his memories of the beautiful country. He had intentions to return in the late nineties, but became ill and was unable to ever return. Luckily, with my semester abroad in France, I took a trip that he would've greatly appreciated.
My Host Family
Joe Witzke - CIDEF, Angers, France
Exhausted from the plane ride to France, scrambling through the Paris airport, the train ride to Angers, and finally, the taxi ride; I found myself at the doorstep of my host-family. Despite my fatigued state, I was unable to control the wave of nervousness and excitement that swept over me. This combination of emotions acted to jolt my body back to life as if I had just had a double shot of espresso. Eager to meet the family with whom I would be spending the next four months, I gathered all my courage and rang the bell.
My Journey to France
Katie Hale - IPAG, Nice, France
When I came to Central I knew I wanted to study abroad. I had spent time in France when I was a senior in high school, and I wanted to amplify that experience and studying abroad was the perfect way to do so. Knowing exactly where I wanted to go and what I wanted to study I applied to study in Nice, France at Ipag Business School. I knew nothing of the city, I knew only one other student, but I was ready to experience anything and everything France had to offer. I had so many amazing experiences and fond memories of my time in France, and the one constant in all of this were the friends I made while I was abroad.
Brittany Yansak - IPAG, Nice, France
I made it! I'm in Nice and it's absolutely beautiful. I met up with my new roommates and we're all getting along great. We finally found a place and now we're all moved in and settled. There are a lot of cafes and there is internet at the school, which we have been using to keep in touch. I have a phone but it's so expensive that I barely talk on it anyway. One thing I can tell already is that I'm learning patience. If ever you think you're patient enough, do something like this - strand yourself in a different country thousands of miles away with a 6-hour time difference and a difficult language barrier and see how you hold up! I'm having a great time expanding my French language skills though. There is certain vocabulary you just don't learn in the classroom in America.