Student Blog

Read first-hand accounts from our students about their experiences on APA Paris programs.

not a question of Why, but of How

September 13, 2017

By the end of my years of high school French, it became clear that the goal wasn’t to speak French but rather to check off the obligatory “cultural exposure” class from the list of requirements that stood between the student and their graduation or their acceptance into a University. To me it was an activity as alien as my algebra classes and only served to give me equal amounts of anxiety. And yet, I had a foundation to work from and I had a half formed hope of building off of it. So when I decided to take a bridge year before university, I chose to spend a year in Senegal, an African country that, according to Wikipedia, spoke French. Among a multitude of reasons, learning how to adapt to a way of life amongst a culture of people so different from my own was my main goal. I wanted to gain cultural and linguistic fluency in Senegal in the hopes that it would help me better understand my own. Long story short, most people in Senegal prefer not to speak French. And I quickly... Read More

My Paris: Looking Back

May 2, 2017

It’s an odd feeling, isn’t it – missing something before it’s left you. Unfortunately, time never slows in the face of nostalgia. Especially not in the warm-ish, glinting haze that is Paris in May. Having been away from the City of Light for about a week and a half... Read More

Weekend in the Loire Valley

April 24, 2017

This beautiful weekend saw a couple of things: the resultats of the premier tour of the French presidential elections (!), and an utterly gorgeous weekend in the Loire Valley. The Loire Valley spans 280 kilometres in central France and is referred to as the Garden of France... Read More

Travel Tip Round-Up: Spring 2017

April 14, 2017

It’s spring break (vacances de printemps) here in Paris – which means that a lot of APA students are enjoying their time-off with well-earned travel! Having been on the European continent for about three and a half months at this point, with plenty of travel to boot, many of... Read More

A Host Family Experience

April 9, 2017

I met my host-mom Solène (mère d’accueil) over macarons and champagne a few days after I arrived in Paris. Solène’s a nurse, and she has a habit of wearing two pairs of glasses at the same time. I met her husband, Thierry, about an hour later over dinner. Thierry owns a... Read More

The French Problématique: A French University Experience

March 28, 2017

With just over two months of classes at French university under my belt, I’ve had enough time to note the differences between the French and American school systems. During our orientation, the APA directors explained the differences in full, but practice can often be... Read More

Playing Tourguide

March 19, 2017

When my family and friends found out that I was officially going to be studying abroad in Paris, their first reaction was: We’re coming to visit! Oftentimes, your semester abroad gives the people who love you a perfect excuse to come to Paris (though really, do you need... Read More

First Weekend of Spring

March 12, 2017

Paris truly showed off this past weekend. It seemed like the first sunny days in months, though in reality it had only been a few weeks of gray skies and rain, and everybody was out and about enjoying the weather. This weekend served as a big hint of what the spring to come... Read More

Where to Study (Abroad)

March 9, 2017

Once in a while, there’s an aspect of being abroad that mirrors being back at our home universities. Sometimes it’s greasy food at 2am, sometimes it’s oversleeping after working late at night. These days, at the beginning of March, it’s the... Read More

Weekend in Bruxelles

March 2, 2017

The French political science class – French name is “Les Enjeux Politiques de la France” – spent last weekend in Bruxelles, Belgium. We were lucky to visit the actual European Union institutions that we had studied in class with our professor,... Read More

Paris Café Culture (and Tips)

February 27, 2017

PARIS — Paris does a lot of things right. Glimmering Haussmann architecture, satisfying wine, oozing cheese like jewels behind glass counters… and perfectly adequate street cleaning. Sadly, coffee (and the matter of public urination, among other things) doesn’t make the... Read More

Packing for your semester abroad

February 22, 2017

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been a full seven weeks (!) since I arrived in Paris. Many students from my home university are just departing on their study abroad adventures, and I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve already gotten to spend so much time in Paris. I can safely... Read More

A Hint of Spring in Paris & Our First Chateau!

February 6, 2017

I have a habit of carrying around a little journal with me. It’s different from the one that’s full of French words I learn in real-life and should probably get around to memorising. It doesn’t have lined pages; instead, I tape in billets and brochures and... Read More

Weekend trip to Normandy and Brittany

January 23, 2017

APA headed to Normandy and Brittany on Saturday for our first weekend trip! Departing at around 8am on Saturday morning, we drove the 4-5 hours to St. Malo – a medieval village in Northwestern France that looks out onto the English channel. The walled city is notorious... Read More

Salut Paris !

January 11, 2017

Salut, mes amis! My name is Liv Burns, and I’m a junior at George Washington University studying journalism and french. I’ve been lucky enough to receive the opportunity to blog for APA during my semester in Paris! I hope you enjoy a recount of my first few days in... Read More