Tag Archives: twenty in paris

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?


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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)



 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



323-860-8974 Direct Line

Here is the official PDF for additional information.

Bonne chance!

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!




Alexa’s Study Abroad Journal: Midterm Swim

All photos are my own.

(Cluny Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery built around the year 910. It is located in the Saône-et-Loire department of France.)


For 21-year-old expats, study abroad is more often written as “study” abroad. I admit, it’s hard to write a midterm paper when you’re romping around the Bourguignon countryside for the weekend (and not just because the secluded hostel has no wi-fi). For three days, my classmates and I ate fresh farm-to-table sandwiches, fawned over some horses, and explored the stomping ground of 12th century monks. I even went to my first degustation! Still, I finished that paper, plus two exams, last week. By Thursday, I was done and more than ready to let off some steam.

One thing that might not pop into your brain when you think of the typical “study” abroad experience is mental and/or physical health. Believe me, my undergrad friends and I are stressed, too. Paris can be a beautiful tease when you’re up to your eyeballs in schoolwork. So, what do we do? We exercise, we drink red wine, and we repeat.

Last year, I found mental solace in a strict diet combined with high-intensity exercise. But, I haven’t been able to properly run since October. The thing about runners is that they love to lie to themselves. The other thing about runners is that they’re often pretty tuned-in to their bodies’ various health signals and warnings. And yet, they’ll run on their screwed up muscles and chipping bones until their legs detach from their hips. I’m barely exaggerating.

I went to the American Hospital in Paris a few weeks ago. My x-rays proved that I was generally healthy and simply suffering from an extreme bout of shin splints. The doctor prescribed rest. It’s been a lazy few weeks, but I’ve gotten to do a lot of things with my newfound free time. Namely, I’ve eaten croissants, crepes, and nutella like they’re going out of style. Plus, I rediscovered Buttes Chaumont and La Villette, the two biggest parks in Paris that are conveniently located in my arrondissement. I’ve bought some spring staples and books at pop-up flea markets. I’ve volunteered my leftover time at a middle school and a youth organization.

photo 2

(The Parc des Buttes Chaumont is my favorite public park in Paris. It was built in 1867 during Napoleon III’s regime. This is my view from the top in late August.)


Perhaps my favorite thing so far, though, was the pool. Espace Sportif Pailleron is a pretty big gym at the bottom of Buttes Chaumont. While regular gyms (think exercise bikes, ellipticals, and weight machines) are extremely expensive in Paris, the pools are nicely priced and much more popular. I recruited Ale to check it out with me on Saturday afternoon. Incidentally, the trip doubled as an excuse to get out of the dirty Parisian air for a while.

We walked into the glass-roofed brick building, just a bit hungover, and bought our tickets. (Jumping into chilled water is something I wasn’t completely ready to do in my right mind.) Students with proof of residence in the city enter for 1.80 euros (and for 3.10, otherwise). The first confusing thing I saw was the ice-skating rink.

As we entered the pre-pool arena (for lack of a better description), I was immediately so grateful for Ale’s presence. The place is half maze, half cultural adventure. We stood in the corner and tried to figure out what to do. Drying machines slide up and down on the walls. If you enter one changing booth, you exit into a different corridor. The bathrooms do not have toilet paper. Lockers are electronic and require memorizing numbers and codes. It is mandatory to take off your shoes, unless they are flip flops. You must shower and wash your feet before swimming. And, if you start swimming without a bathing cap, you get kicked out.

We learned some of these things the hard way, others by watching people, and still others thanks to a helpful cartoon instruction manual painted onto a wall. My workout, though, was amazing. I kept thinking of that one Vonnegut quote: “In the water I am beautiful”. And, you know, I felt pretty beautiful. Even though my goggles left me with red raccoon-like marks around my eyes and my cap was too tight for my head, I had fun. I got to blend in with the Parisians for a couple of hours. I saw bodies of all shapes, sizes, and colors, and didn’t feel too self-conscious about my own. I soaked my tired, achy muscles in a jacuzzi.

I am quite full of love and appreciation, and looking forward to more misadventures of the everyday French variety.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of pool photos, but that’d be a bit strange.


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.