Why Culture Shock is Good for You

by Andrea Bouchaud on December 8, 2015

Today’s post come from my new friends at NeoMam Studios who made this super spot on infographic on culture shock. Enjoy!

Original source found at  http://www.worktheworld.com/infographics/why-culture-shock-is-good-for-you

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50 Beautiful French Words

by Andrea Bouchaud on November 16, 2015

Today’s blog post comes from nos amis at TakeLessons. Intro by Megan Liscomb.
What inspires you to learn French?
 
For many, the sheer beauty of the language drew you in and inspired a lifetime love for French and French culture. 
 
To celebrate this beautiful language, my friends at TakeLessons created this infographic displaying 50 of their favorite beautiful French words. Some words were chosen based on sound, some based on meaning, and some for a combination of both. Enjoy!
Beautiful French Words
This is the TakeLessons Group- Merci!
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French Fangirls, Franglais and Meeting Parisians

by Alexa Goins on October 1, 2015

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(All photos by Alexa)

It’s official. I’ve fallen in love with Paris. And being in Paris no longer feels like a vacation, but more like an actual life. For the first month, I was echoing the sentiment that many people who visit Paris have: that Parisians aren’t the friendliest and it’s really hard to meet them. Other than waiters and shopkeepers, I found that I wasn’t really interacting with many French people. It’s very frustrating to realize that you’re only talking to Americans while living in France. I started going to a church in Paris and saw a whole other side to the Parisians I was encountering on the streets. The frozen frowning faces and occasional shoves in the metro never would have led me to believe Parisians could be so welcoming, friendly, and passionate about life. But joining a Parisian church community has torn apart every stereotype I’ve ever heard about the French. Now, I can say that I regularly do les bisous and am regularly meeting new locals. One of my proudest accomplishments in Paris, thus far, is getting a French person’s phone number. In any culture, you won’t feel fully immersed until you’re actually meeting the locals. So if I had to give one piece of advice to someone studying abroad in France, it would be this: find some sort of French community (a church, an art studio, workout class, etc.) that you can go to regularly and connect with the natives in.

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The language is still difficult as I’m not quite used to how fast and quietly the French speak, but what’s more difficult is the temptation to speak English. Knowing that so many people here in Paris usually have a basic understanding of English, it’s so easy to just ask, “Vous parlez anglais?” and not practice the language. It’s a bad habit that I’m hoping to drop by the end of the semester. For now, I’ll keep trying to stick to French, and drop the Franglais.

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I had a cool opportunity to photograph a concert for a teenage American artist this past weekend. Though I’d done this before, it was a little bit different to do concert press in France, as opposed to in the States. I have to say, the security and the crowd of teenage girls were much tamer than their American counterparts. A couple of high school-aged girls found out that I had “une passe de presse” and started asking me, excitedly, if I was going to meet the artist after the show and hinting that they wanted to come with me. My “passe de presse” also served as an unexpected networking tool that led to a cool conversation with a French blogger at the show. I’m learning that in Paris, there’s always an opportunity for serendipitous opportunities. I’m hopefully looking forward to more of those, as Paris Fashion Week is upon us and anything could happen.

  

Alexa Goins

Alexa is a senior at Asbury University, pursuing a degree in Journalism with minors in French and Public Relations. After graduation, Alexa hopes to go into music/fashion journalism or the magazine industry. She is spending her fall semester in Paris, soaking in French fashion and attempting to taste as many types of cheese as possible. You can also connect with her at www.theglitterenthusiast.com

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Paris is all at Once, a Beautiful and Terrifying Dream

by Alexa Goins on September 14, 2015

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(all photos by Alexa)

Up until the day I left, Paris had been a beautiful dream for a girl who grew up reading fairy tales and watching Passport to Paris. But the day I left, it became, all at once, a terrifying and beautiful dream. Paris wasn’t real to me until the moment I had to say goodbye to my mother at the airport security checkpoint. It was in that moment that I was all at once terrified, where before I had been excited, for this seemingly far-off fairytale adventure that was Paris, France to me. After saying goodbye to my mother for the third time (because I was too afraid to go to my gate without her), I held back tears as I walked to my terminal and went to board my plane. When it was my turn to hand over my ticket and board, the flight agent informed me that I couldn’t take my carry-on item because the plane was full. The tears came. It was embarrassing. But those tears prompted another flight agent to escort me onto the plane and have a flight attendant find a place for my carry-on. When the flight attendant found out that I was going to Paris to study, I told her I was scared. I couldn’t help it. She had a motherly face and again more tears came. I’m 21, but I’ve never felt more like a child than I did on that connecting flight. I turned to face the window so I could cry for reasons I didn’t even know. The flight staff checked on me periodically throughout my flight, much to my embarrassment and comfort. And at the end of the flight, out of pity or kindness or a mix of both, the flight attendants brought me a gift bag filled with candy and snacks (shout out to American Airlines!). My fear was melting away because of the kindness of others.

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After landing in Paris, the tears were gone, but my string of embarrassing moments continued. One of my first encounters with a Parisian involved me accidentally dropping my oversized suitcase on a middle school boy on the sidewalk. The suitcase was almost bigger than he was. On my first night, I got lost trying to find the Eiffel Tower in the rain with my friends, Katie and Abigail. It was exhilarating and we weren’t sure if we’d make it back to the dorm. We could either learn the metro system or sleep in a park. We chose the former. But I’ve never seen anything as beautiful as Paris on that rainy night. And these moments and the sometimes awkward mishaps in language are teaching me not just about how to live in Paris, but about humbling myself. Paris is still a terrifying and beautiful dream. But it’s also a great teacher and I can’t wait to learn as much as I can from it.

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Alexa Goins

Alexa is a senior at Asbury University, pursuing a degree in Journalism with minors in French and Public Relations. After graduation, Alexa hopes to go into music/fashion journalism or the magazine industry. She is spending her fall semester in Paris, soaking in French fashion and attempting to taste as many types of cheese as possible. You can also connect with her at www.theglitterenthusiast.com

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