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A Day in the Life: Madeleine R. in Paris

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Madeleine R.

Gap Semester in Paris

It has been three weeks since I arrived in Paris for my language study and I am already in love!  

At Orientation, the EF Gap alumni and Group Leaders told us how quickly our time on-program would pass, but I don’t think I fully understood how true that was until I got here. These first few weeks have flown by!  

When I first got to Paris after Guided Exploration in Europe, I took an oral and written test for my language placement. I also was able to choose the elective courses—everything from business to cuisine and music—I was interested in, like a French fashion class, which was perfect for me! 

Gap Semester in Paris

Morning classes

I have class in the mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and in the afternoon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. My classes are always very engaging and have allowed me to meet other students from all over the world; moreover, the people at EF are incredibly helpful and nice. The school itself has a fresh and inviting atmosphere, plus it’s conveniently located near a number of good restaurants and shops. 

Most days, you’ll find me eating lunch at my favorite café, Cojean, which is right next to campus; I am honestly obsessed. When I have afternoon class, I usually come here to have a longer, more relaxed meal; however, when I have morning class, I use my free time in the afternoon to explore Paris. A great thing about this city is all the cafés, perfect for reading a book over a cup of tea and a croissant or simply relaxing after class and some sightseeing. 

Gap Semester in Paris

Afternoon activities

I also love visiting museums, sometimes even two in a day! So far, my favorite museums are the Musée d’Orsay, which features a number of interesting works including famous impressionist paintings, as well as the Musée Yves Saint Laurent and the Musée de l’Orangerie, which houses Claude Monet’s Water Lillies. Visiting the Musée de l’Orangerie was a great way to prepare me for my trip to Monet’s gardens in Giverny with EF last weekend! 

If you’re trying to learn a new language like me, immersing yourself in the country’s culture is essential. I’ve tried to do so by ordering from restaurants in French, or speaking to museum workers in the language, no matter how awkward it may feel. I try to avoid English at all costs, even when people notice my American accent—I just tell them I’m learning French and they’re always enthusiastic to help me speak it more fluently! The stereotype that the French do not like foreigners is completely untrue. 

Night routine

Every evening I take the train back to my homestay. Although navigating the public transportation system amidst all of Paris’s strikes and random delays occasionally proves difficult, the city overall has a good metro that can get you anywhere in the city very easily. At around 8:30pm I sit for dinner with my host mom and housemate, and after that, I’m off to bed! Although filled with fun things, my days are long and have me ready to sleep at the end of the day. 

EF Gap Semester in Paris

The weekend

On the weekends, I take the additional time to venture to other parts of Paris or France. My first weekend here, my friends and I went to Disneyland Paris, which was so fun! One Sunday I explored the Marais neighborhood, a area adored by locals and tourists alike, and with good reason: it’s very charming, with lots of boutiques, cafés, and a beautiful park at its center. 

Another weekend, I went to brunch and then headed over to la Fondation Louis Vuitton on the west end of Paris, which was neat! The surrounding area had a more residential and natural feel than the rest of Paris, a refreshing change. Later that day, I had a stereotypical French dinner, a picnic of a baguette and some cheese, yum! Sunday, I went on the school trip to Giverny, which was amazing! Taking the trip with EF means I did not have to worry about transportation or buying my ticket, which was great. The gardens, even in October, are gorgeous, and the surrounding town is very charming. Getting some fresh air after a week in the city felt great. EF activities are also a great way to meet new people. I was a little worried to be signing up for the program alone, but I quickly met other students with whom I spent the day! 

Madeleine R.

Madeleine R. traveled with us on an EF Gap Semester in Fall 2019 and spent much of her time abroad studying French and living in Paris.  

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