Rachel Furo Lopkin '13
When friends ask how my experience studying abroad was, I tell them that it felt like coming home. Ever since I first was introduced to French studies in the second grade (“Ca va comme ci comme ça”), I have developed and nurtured my love for speaking French, Francophone culture, and France. Thus, spending the spring of my junior year in Paris with the Middlebury in Paris program, where I studied 17th and 20th century French literature at the Université de Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle, was undeniably a dream come true for me. I fell in love with Paris from the moment I stepped off the airplane – from the incredible food (if you go, let Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris be your only guide book) to the wonderfully kind people I met to the never-ending list of things to do and see – Paris stole my heart. While abroad, I made a huge effort to speak, think, and do as much in French as possible, and there’s no better place to immerse yourself in French culture than in Paris. I took French baking classes, played flute in a chamber ensemble, tutored young children in French and in English, all while being sure to spend as much time with my amazing host family as possible – watching French films with my host mother, discovering new French music with my host sister, and Sunday tea at my host grandparents’ apartment were all part of my weekly routine. Paris, for me, was a thousand different tiny and wonderful moments all wrapped up into one whirlwind of a semester – it was the bus driver stopping his bus right in the middle of weekend traffic just to see the Eiffel Tower once more light up on the hour, it was standing front row at a rock concert held underneath the Moulin Rouge, it was walking a mile through the curved cobblestone streets of Montmartre to watch the sun rise, it was spending hours sitting in an Alice in Wonderland-themed café with a pot of rhubarb tea while it poured outside, it was incredible, it was surreal, it was home.