Traveling has always been what has motivated and excited me, so being able to study abroad has naturally been very high on my list of priorities during my years at Princeton. I first studied abroad with Princeton during the summer after my freshman year through the PIIRS Global Seminar program, which was a fantastic way to spend my first Princeton summer. And this week, I will be going to study abroad for the fall semester of my junior year in Paris!
Princeton has a host of programs abroad to choose from (take a peek at the list here), and I’ve decided to do my semester abroad through Columbia University’s program at Reid Hall in Paris. But no worries, I’m staying a true Tiger at heart! What mattered a lot to me as I was making a choice about my program was housing and meal options. I was happy to find that Columbia offers student residence hall housing, so I’ll be living in a dorm in the 15th arrondissement with a single room and my own bathroom. I can’t wait! I'll also have free kitchen access, so since I really enjoy cooking for myself, I look forward to being able to make my favorites for breakfast and dinner each day.
The trickiest part of planning for study abroad was getting my visa this summer. Overall, the process wasn’t too difficult, but it did require gathering a lot of paperwork (and double and triple checking the paperwork), and then waiting for the visa to arrive back in the mail a few weeks later. My advice to other students who need to get visas would be to start the process early and to stay organized from the start!
Since I am a French major, my department is very supportive of my studying in Paris. This makes it especially easy and exciting for me to pick my classes. Although all of my friends at Princeton have already signed up for their fall classes, I will wait to do so during my orientation week in Paris. I’ll take at least two classes at Columbia’s center there called Reid Hall, and the rest will be taken directly at the French universities. So far I’m pretty excited about a sociology course at Paris VII (Denis Diderot) and a few geography classes at Paris IV (the Sorbonne). During orientation week, Reid Hall will also offer a choice of weekend trips for us to travel with the group to places like Brussels, Mont Saint Michel, and the Loire Valley, so stay tuned for which little excursion I decide to take.
Garage sales this summer have left me with plenty of guides to Paris, so I’m spending this last week reading up some on the sites that I should visit and finishing up my packing. I've been advised by my Princeton professors to enjoy the macaroons, and I'm feeling just about ready for the adventure of the fall. I guess it's time that I get back to making sure that my bag is still under 50 pounds!