Leah Smith, Washington and Lee University

JYF Fall 2015

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Major(s): Politics and French

Why did you choose JYF in Paris?
I chose JYF to be a part of a well-renowned language intensive French program that would challenge me to improve my French skills while fully immersing in the culture. The JYF program in particular allows you to build close relationships with everyone in your program and with the instructors and administrators. I found this to be a great source of comfort during my time in Paris.

What and where did you study while in Paris?
Langue et culture française
Atelier d’écriture (Sweet Briar, JYF in Paris)
Théatre et mise en scène (Sweet Briar, JYF in Paris)
Littérature du XIXe Littérature, rêve et folie (Université de Paris 3- Sorbonne Nouvelle)
Littérature du XVIe siècle: Etranges étrangers (Université de Paris 3- Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Were your courses approved to count for your major(s) or Minor(s)?
Yes, I received every credit anticipated for my French major.

What were the best parts of the experience for you?
My favorite memories from my time abroad were when I blindly explored Paris or spent an entire afternoon at the Christmas markets. I also thoroughly enjoyed class excursions to the theater, as well as our trip to Normandy. I think I learned the most and challenged myself through travels to smaller towns such as Lyon and Marseille where I was forced to understand southern accents and find my way around a new place.

What was your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge was adapting to the environment following the Paris attacks in November, but thankfully the French are resilient and kept spirits high.

What advice would you give to future students?
If you put in effort to develop your French skills and adapt to the culture during your time abroad, you will leave feeling extremely fulfilled and begin to know Paris as your second home. Spend time with your host family—they can teach you invaluable lessons about the French culture and language that you may not learn otherwise, and it’s great to have a close connection in Paris after you leave!