Alexa’s Study Abroad Journal: Bits And Pieces

(photo by Alexa: Washington Square Arch is basically an infant compared to the Arc de Triomphe. I can’t wait to see some of the most beautiful architecture in the world on a daily basis.)

I try to practice my French every day, but I lack discipline. It’s summer, I have a job, and I do a lot of outdoorsy-type things. It’s hard to think of the French word for “leaf” when I’m hiking to a new bouldering area with my fave Americans. As an aspiring journalist, though, I try to at least keep up with French news. So I thought I’d break the first rule of journalism and share my sources.

I’m about to take creative liberties by organizing my thoughts into a listicle, because it’s edgy and I’m busy.

1. This ( is a two-and-a-half minute clip from the New York Times’ “Intersection” series. It’s a quick intro to Parisian fashion trends. Interviewees from Le Marais — the historic-turned-trendy quarter — talk about “frou-frou” and “bobo chic” (bohemian bourgeois). I’m so stressed about what to pack, but knowing that I can’t go wrong with traditional, classy styles makes me feel better. (How cool is that dude’s watch, though??)

2. I’ve been emailing back and forth with Tim, my future co-habitant, about rock climbing. We’re sharing stories and videos, and I’m trying to refrain from using Google Translate too much. Here’s a YouTube ( video of a few crazy Lyon climbers just doin’ their thing right in the middle of the city. Scaling a bridge? NBD.

3. Rookie is my favorite online publication for teen girls. Not a teen girl? Doesn’t matter. I find some of my new favorite songs from their Friday Playlists, and this ( one, “Les Filles Qui Chantent,” basically rules. Listen up: France sounded better in the 60s.

4. I’m not really a fan of Buzzfeed (I say as I write in listicle-format) or Cosmo or ThoughtCatalog or Gawker or anything, but when I read trashy news in French, it’s a different story. Honestly, sometimes Cosmo France is easier to read than Le Petit Prince. AND it is pretty entertaining to see English hashtags introducing photos of macaroons (,macarons-chats-lenotre-badou-badou-elodie-martin,1901328.asp) shaped like cat faces. I feel way prouder of myself for reading about my guilty pleasures en francais, you know?

5. The best for last: I found the most adorable little infographic on how to ( pack a suitcase. Whew!

When I’m not looking to French-ify my life, I’m getting my visa documents prepared. I have EVERYTHING, and tomorrow I will make one hundred copies of each one, and the next day I will put on my poker face as I hand them over to an indifferent consulate worker.

“Everything” includes my acceptance letter, two emails from Campus France, a recent photograph in passport format, my passport, proof of sufficient means of support, my airline ticket reservation, my license, the OFII (French immigration form), a long-stay visa application form, and a processing fee! Oh, I love French bureaucracy already. So, so much love. Drowning in love.



Alexa Wybraniec

Alexa studies journalism, media and French at Rutgers University. She is abroad at Sciences Po for her third year of college. Check back every other Monday for a new post and connect on Twitter.