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Alexa’s Study Abroad Journal: Haute Cuisine

All photos by Alexa

I take a picture of (almost) every meal I eat so that I always have leftovers. And a picture’s worth a thousand words, right?

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Ale’s new apartment has this little round table that looks pretty nondescript when my laptop and elbows are resting on it. But, once we decorate it with a bright tablecloth, a fresh baguette, and grilled chicken with roasted peppers and onions, it looks like something straight out of a little bistro in the heart of Paris.

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When I get home from a run, the first thing I do is go to the Monoprix. It’s the best place for cheap but quality food when you don’t have time or patience for the market. One of my easy go-to meals is a salad with red peppers and Italian olive oil, a whole-grain mini-baguette, and fresh berries.

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After the pool, midday, Chez Ale is situated perfectly for some sun rays. It was too cold to sit outside, but some red wine and the heat of the stove kept the place warmer than the average Parisian cafe. Special of the day: garlic and olive-oil drizzled over asparagus and grilled chicken with a tradition (which is like a baguette, but crunchier). I swear I eat meats other than chicken.

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I came home from class one Tuesday afternoon to find a bunch of strawberries drying in the kitchen sink. I stole just a few (dozen) before heading out again. Happy spring!

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This is one of my fancier salads because nuts. Pear and walnuts and olive oil and bread, does it get any better than that?

Thanks for dining with me and have a nice Monday. :-)

  

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.

Historic-House-Thailand

Study Abroad Alternative – Teach English in Thailand, Get on TV !

(Paris is awesome…but look at Thailand. Photo by karibuworld.com)

Studying abroad is a great opportunity that I hope every American college student takes part in, but sometimes you can find an equally engaging opportunity abroad that isn’t a study abroad. I’m talking about working and living abroad. I recently came across a casting call for Millenial Americans (that’s you!) to teach English in Thailand for a new TV show that’s coming out. This is a great opportunity to work and live abroad, to immerse into another culture, and to gain that global experience needed for today’s workforce. If you’re on the fence about studying abroad, not sure if you want to go college, or are looking for a job post college – check it out and apply! If you’re interested, check out the information below that I copied from their website’s press release. But act fast! The deadline to apply is next week.

travel(Build a network, grow as a person, gain international working experience,  immerse into another culture. Photo by www.pinterest.com)

 

relativity

 Now Casting Young AMERICAN Millennials Who Dream of Teaching English Abroad!

 

Relativity Media is casting a new TV show all about young adults who are ready to plunge into a whole new lifestyle! We want to document what it’s like to pick up and move to a different country where the culture is completely different than in America. We will follow your life as you work, live, party, and explore Chiang Mai, Thailand!

Have you always been the person who dreams of experiencing different cultures rather than settling down right away with a 9-5 job and a white picket fence?

Do you feel like America doesn’t offer the kind of “fish-out-of-water” experiences you want to live out in your twenties?

Have you and your friends talked about living and working in a different country but money is holding you back?

Whether you’ve been laid off, on an endless job search, unhappy with the cookie cutter lifestyle you’ve created for yourself, can’t stand to go to one more wedding, or just feel like you’re not feeding your desire to be adventurous– we want to help you finally make the move you’ve always dreamed of!

We are now looking for young adults between the ages of 18-30 who feel that right now is the time for them to pack up their lives and move to Chiang Mai, Thailand! We will help introduce you to companies who will help you find a job as an English Teacher and also help set you up with housing.

If you are interested please send the following info to: Luli.Batista@rtvshows.com

- Name and age

- Occupation or major

- Current City (only Americans please) and your hometown

- Phone number

- Two recent photos of just you

- Why you want to teach in Thailand/ what’s at stake in leaving?

Media Contact:

Luli Batista

Relativity Television

CASTING DIRECTOR

luli.batista@rtvshows.com

323-860-8974 Direct Line

Here is the official PDF for additional information.

Bonne chance!
-Andrea
  
lost

French Expressions You Don’t Learn in Class: Lost in Translation

(Photo by en.wikipedia.org)

Every French student has heard of the expression franglais or Franglish as a way to identify the use of English words in the French language. Where did this phenomena of language swapping between French and English come from? It’s a little hard to trace each word, but the mixing of French and English has two origins. The first is back in 1066 when Norman France conquered and ruled over England. French trickled down from the courts into the Germanic language that was spoken by the citizens of the country to form English. So first we can say that French influenced English, but the tables did turn about nine hundred years later in the 1960s. It was a time of the British invasion. Beatles music was heard throughout the globe and English started to trickle down into other languages, including French. The influence of English into French didn’t stop with the Beatles; it only continued from there. As popularity of American movies soared as well as Anglophone countries developing new technologies at lightning speed, the only natural thing was for English words / phrases to become a part of the French language, much to the chagrin of the Académie Française. But even though franglais exists, it doesn’t mean that there is a perfect flow between the French and English languages. Many things still get lost in translation. Let’s take a look at my top 3 lost in translation expressions- where’s franglais when you need it?!

1- I’m pulling your leg. This super common English expression is used to say you’re joking. An exact translation in French is je tire ta jambe. The only problem is that this doesn’t mean I’m pulling your leg in French; it means that I’m shooting your leg. Tirer is an interesting French verb in that it means to pull, but pull can be used in a few different meanings. You’ll see “Tirez” on doors in France when you need to pull and you’ll also hear “tirez” when watching un film policier for a scene where the bad guy gets shot. Why? Because tirer is also the verb to shoot. So when you want to tell your French friend that you’re just joking, say je blague instead.

DS2_4751(Is he expressing an undying lust or that he’s too warm in that sweater? Photo by http://www.bettertravelphotos.com/)

2- I’m hot. A natural part of conversation if you want to express that the air temperature is too warm. For us Anglophones, we’re used to using the verb to be to express all our wants, needs, desires, and current state of comfort. However, it is not the same in French. To express discomfort with the warm temperature in French, we say j’ai chaud. To use être in this scenario works linguistically in French, but what you’re saying is something completely different. Je suis chaud / chaude (for women) means that you’re horny. Now, this may work if you’re trying to seduce that cute French classmate, but not if you’re trying to ask your host family to turn down the heat because you’re too warm.

i miss you(photo by www.imagesbuddy.com)

3- I miss you. What I love about this saying in English is that I don’t have to think about it. It’s simple and to the point- I (Andrea) miss you (loved one). In French, if you translate this expression exactly by saying je te manque you’re not saying that you miss that special someone, but rather, that he/she is missing you! If you want to express that you are the person who is doing the emotional suffering because of your loved one’s absence, we say tu me manques or you are missing/lacking me. This is one that takes getting used to. My best tip is to remember that it’s the opposite of what you’re used to.

As you can see, even with the advent of franglais and the many similarities between the French and English languages, there are still many things that are lost in translation. The best way to learn them is by speaking with a native and immersing yourself into French via French news sites, TV shows/movies, and books/magazines.

Bonne chance!

-Andrea

 

  
french revolution

My battle with My Comfort Zone

(ok so Lady Liberty wasn’t rushing in and there weren’t hundreds of French soldiers but it’s still a battle. Photo by www.tiki-toki.com)

There is nothing more intimate and personal than our comfort zone. It is a place where we feel safe, where we are safe. It is a place that, as its name suggests, makes us feel comfortable. It is a constant in the ever changing variable that is life. Despite its comfy-ness and safety, I’m always recommending you to leave it when you’re preparing for your study abroad. Since studying abroad is all about doing everything in a different way, it only makes sense to get uncomfortable by leaving your comfort zone so that you can become comfortable with constant change once you arrive abroad. I can tell you from personal experience that if you go abroad not expecting to change, it can be quite jarring to realize that you’re going to have to do it whether you want to or not. So it’s better to be at ease with changing by leaving your comfort zone. But it’s not just for studying abroad. I didn’t realize it when I was in college but once you leave your comfort zone, you find out there is a whole new arena for opportunity and experiences. When I was in college, I was Queen Bee of the Comfort Zone. I only ever rarely left and when I did “leave” it, I was never completely out as there was always a toe still in the line. Studying abroad not only pushed me out of my comfort zone, it brutally forced me out. For that I am grateful as it gave me the courage and determination I needed to do other things and branch out in life. But that doesn’t mean that I live outside of the comfort zone; rather, it means that I have adjusted my comfort zone parameters.

Leg_restraint01_2003-06-02(Restraint so good…sometimes. But it’s best to not be in them in the first place. Photo by en.wikipedia.org)

I got a reality check on my comfort zone boundaries over the weekend at a post Christmas bash. It was a pleasant enough soirée chez le chef of my better half. Maybe it was due to hunger or a drop in estrogen due to my impending regles but what I can tell you is that when I saw a new face, I ran away. And since I only knew a few people there, I was running away most of the evening. Sometimes, someone would stop me to say hi and introduce themselves. I returned the introduction, smiled and then scadoodled away. I was completely overwhelmed. The boss’ house was a decent sized home but it felt awfully cramped with 70 people in it. Everywhere I looked there was an unfamiliar face. I had plenty of opportunity to strike up new conversations but I didn’t. I was out of my comfort zone and I wanted nothing more than to be back in it. This party was the perfect opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and I didn’t take it. The entire time at the party, I wished that I wasn’t letting myself be restrained by my old friend CZ (that’s the comfort zone).  But I didn’t go with the right attitude to this party. I didn’t go with an inquisitive and open mind; I went with an empty stomach and fatigue. Leaving your comfort zone is great practice not only for studying abroad, but for life. You never know what opportunities can come your way. That’s why it’s best to be prepared to put yourself out there, way outside of the comfort zone, at any time, anywhere, by practicing. Practice makes perfect and if you’re always doing something new than you can never truly be comfortable. And that is when you find true success.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter   so that we can stay connected between posts.

Bonne chance!
-Andrea