Isabel in France: Studying Abroad in Paris, Learning French, Living in France, Touring Europe

Isabel in France: Studying Abroad in Paris, Learning French, Living in France, Touring Europe

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Hey, party people! It's Adrian, and I just talked  to Isabel about studying abroad in France. [Music] ISABEL: I'm really nervous because everyone seems so smart,  and I'm also nervous for the formatting of the   course. So far there have been certain moments  where I feel overwhelmed because everyone is   unknown to me. While it's scary, I'm trying  to be as optimistic as much as I can.   ADRIAN: I know Isabel from her university here in the states. Last  fall she was applying to her program in Paris and   having to go through all this bureaucratic hassle  to get her student visa from the French government.   Well this past January she made it and I've been  following her on TikTok and social media, and   I finally got to catch up with her this month in  March. Hi, Isabel. How are you doing? ISABEL: Good, how are you?  

ADRIAN: I'm doing pretty well. So uh thank you for joining  us on YouTube to talk about studying in France.   I've watched your TikTok, we've got  your postcard. Can you tell us a little   about yourself and your experience? ISABEL: Well so  I'm a student. I'm from the US. I study at a   university domestically in the US, but  I'm studying at Sciences Po in Paris which   is a really big university for people studying  international relations and political science.  

And in school I study  international relations in French so ADRIAN: That sounds great. So are you taking classes in  French or in English? ISABEL: I take them in both so I   am doing one French class and then three English  classes, so they've been very interesting so far. I   yeah I'm taking three or no, sorry, two  international relations related courses and   then one course surrounding French law and then  another course on like French culture. ADRIAN: So all right,   how's everything going? ISABEL: it's going really well.  It's a lot different than in the US. I would say   as far as like the formatting and then I mean,  really just actually everything is very different,  but formatting is like the main thing, and  then grading as well, that's a really big   difference but it's different but it's  still going well. ADRIAN: Good, good, so yes what  

are some differences between University in the  U.S compared to France that you've been noticing?  ISABEL: Yeah okay, so for me I think the biggest  difference is in the US like professors are   very good about giving back grades and giving  feedback about maybe how you could improve in   the course, or like where you stand generally  in the course, whereas at Sciences Po in   my experience, the professors I have not received,  I've only received one grade back for the entire   semester and it's mid-march, so yeah, I really  think it's frustrating, it's very frustrating   because I don't know if I need to change anything  really, or like how I'm doing overall in the course,   so that's a really really big difference. At  least going into finals that would be nice but   yeah, I really think I just I'm gonna have to  do the best I can and hope for the best because   no feedback but that's a big difference.  Another big difference is the scheduling. So in  

the US where you would have like your Monday  Wednesday Friday classes and then your Tuesday   and Thursday courses, you just meet once a week  at Sciences Po, and it's for a two-hour time period, so   there are 12 weeks in the semester, so we   we just finished our seventh week, so this was only   the seventh time I hadn't met any of my all of my  professors, which is kind of weird to me because   in the US you would have already met them  like seven times, like 21 times at least, so   that's a big difference. ADRIAN: Huh, that is interesting,  very different schedules. Have you been noticing   any differences generally and how people live in  France versus the US? ISABEL: Yeah, I would say overall   there aren't like too many differences. The main  two that stick out to me is like shopping for   groceries. Typically there's like butcher stand,  a place to eat your fruit, a place to get your   vegetables. Like supermarkets do exist and I go  to the supermarket, but I would say overall to   get better quality and fresher and more affordable  things, you should go to like a bakery to get your   bread, you should go to uh produce stand to get  your produce. Like it's all very specific to what   like the grocery item is, and generally all of  these things are going to be really close to   each other. Like on my street there's a butcher, a  bakery, and a produce stand all right next to each  

other, and then a few shops down there's also  like a cheese - a fromagerie is what it's called   - there's also a cheese place, so that's a really  big difference. Another thing is too like in the   U.S I would do like a big grocery run every Sunday  or Saturday to like prepare for the week ahead, but   you don't really do that here like. It's kind of  odd if you're buying like a ton of groceries at   once because like everything like there's just so  many locations of like produce stands, supermarkets,   whatever it may be, that there's not really a need  to do that, because people are walking or people   are taking the metro there, and it's a lot quicker  than like packing up your car, driving to the store,   going browsing, like it's just a lot quicker and  like there's just not really a need to do that.  

And then the second difference is kind of like  already touched on, it's like public transportation,   like no one really drives, and I mean this  could be specific to Paris, but no one   really owns a car, no one really has a license,  unless you are like have come from a different   city prior. But yeah, people mostly take the public  transportation, bike - that's a big one - or just walk.   I wouldn't recommend walking though if you're  coming to Paris because it's so big that like   you don't realize how spread apart everything is,  but people don't really drive here. ADRIAN: Right, it sounds   like there are some urban differences that  you're experiencing that I don't experience here.   Some of that shopping sounds old-fashioned to  me to go to different places, but I also hear a lot   about that in other countries. ISABEL: yeah well I I think  like everything is just a lot more fresh, and with   that though unfortunately become comes like it  goes bad really quickly, so you have to eat it.  

Because like if I buy strawberries in the US, due  to all the preservatives and other things that   they put into a lot of fruit, it's gonna not go bad  as quickly. But when I go across the street and buy   strawberries, it goes bad within like two to three  days. ADRIAN: that's interesting. ISABEL: Yeah. ADRIAN: So yeah let's see, on TikTok you've been showing your grocery  hauls. What can you tell us more about the food and  

drink that you've been experiencing in Paris? ISABEL: Yeah  I mean okay, so overall I would say a big thing   as far as like drinks is people don't really  drink sodas as much. Like I've noticed that that's   it's more so seen as like a dessert, whereas like I  don't know I feel like it's very common in the US   to have, like I mean you just don't regard a soda  as that - that's the police siren if you're   hearing that - ADRIAN: I cannot hear that. ISABEL: Yeah they're um yeah  that's a big thing. Wine is very very cheap at   the grocery store. Like you can get a good bottle  of wine for like four Euros - ADRIAN: Wow - ISABEL: Which like if I   saw four dollar bottle of wine I would be like,  don't buy that, like you will probably throw up like   ADRIAN: Unless it's a Trader Joe's. ISABEL: Yeah that's true, but here it's very affordable and it's  

actually good wine, which I mean obviously there's  a ton of wineries so they're very pretty local but   that's a really big thing that I've noticed. And  then overall groceries are a lot more affordable   like a lot more affordable like in the US. ADRIAN: Another thing on your Tick Tock, wow. ISABEL: Yeah, it's   so affordable, and like you wouldn't think that  though because I thought I'm moving to Paris, like   it's going to be really expensive. No, I mean  you can yeah you can make it really expensive if  

you wanted, but like if you're just an average  person like it's very affordable in my opinion.   ADRIAN: Just a rumor, but is there a lot of dog poo on  the sidewalk? ISABEL: Actually no, I haven't noticed that.   There are a lot of dogs but I haven't noticed that  actually. ADRIAN: Okay, someone asked me about that. I'm like   okay, I'll ask. ISABEL: Yeah no, I have not noticed that.  But there is a lot of dogs, like even off leashes.   That's a big thing too. Like in the US I feel like  it's very like if you're walking your dog in the  

street like they need to have a leash on. No, here  the owner's dogs, like I'll see a dog that's just   walking and I think it's a stray. No, its owner is  all the way down the street and they're just kind   of walking together meandering, not really paying  attention. ADRIAN: That's interesting.   Side note, there's a 2013 story from NPR about the Incivility Brigade that enforces the dog  poop law in Paris. Uh, what kind of places have you   seen around Paris and then where else have you  been? ISABEL: Okay, so something that I'm learning about   Paris that which, I had been to Paris before but  no one explained this to me, so I think it's worth   mentioning, that Paris is divided into arrondissements, which  means like district or neighborhood, and    each arrondissement has like different characteristics  about itself. So like I live in the fifth - which   they're pretty big so like that's fine to share - I live in the fifth arrondisements and um that's the   Latin quarter, so there's like a ton of history and  everything like that. But the first arrondissement  

is like the city center, so that's going to  be more touristy and things like that, so yeah, I just I haven't even made it to  like every single arrondissement, but    yeah, it's really worth noting that, especially  if you're playing like planning on traveling and   you know may want to make like an itinerary. I  would suggest figuring out like, okay, what are the   things I want to do in the first arrondissement,  what are the things you want to do in the 19th. I   think there's 20 or 21 and it's in the shape of a  snail shell, so you have the city center it starts.   First is obviously the center. Second, third, fourth,  fifth. It goes like that, so - ADRIAN: I'll have to look   at a map. ISABEL: Yeah it's really interesting,  but it's worth kind of organizing if there's   certain attractions you want to do, figuring out  which arrondissements it's in, because then you're   kind of able to, instead of Metro-ing all over  the city, be like, okay we're in the 19th arrondissement   for the day, like what attractions are here, and  then we'll move on to the next one or whatever, so   Personally I would say avoid North  Paris, like to stay there, especially   if you're like a female solo traveler.  It's just not good to be in that area. I  

thought that I would be fine there because  there was this really cute vintage market   that I saw on TikTok that I wanted to go  see, and it was in the very very North Paris.   Yeah, I did not need to be there. Like I left  immediately. It was really not a good place   so. ADRIAN: Wow. ISABEL: So I haven't even made it to every arrondissement,  but I have been to like pretty much all like  

the touristy areas so like Sacre Coeur. That's in North  Paris, which like I said you, shouldn't go there   alone, but I think Sacre Coeur is like fine. I've been  there alone but in around noon so like if you are   solo I would go there around like, just make sure  you're not there after dark. - But you know I've also  

been to like the Eiffel Tower at night. I love  going to viewpoints such as on Montmartre where   you can see Eiffel the Eiffel Tower sparkling at  night time. I've gotten a few pictures of that. And   then there's another really cool viewpoint  that you can see the Eiffel Tower sparkling   from at this place called Galeries Lafayette. And  I went there last week and I took a few pictures   as well, and it was really pretty. And it's free so  that's really good. Really interesting place, and  

you can also see the Opera from the top of  the Galeries Lafayette as well. Oh, the Arc de   Triomphe. That's also a really cool thing,  obviously very touristy, but something that   is you know quintessential and I've gotten--ADRIAN: Sounds  important -- ISABEL: Yeah a very important -- you can go to   the top. I really want to do that. I just haven't  done that yet. ADRIAN: So have you traveled outside of   Paris while you've been there? ISABEL: Yes, so I've been  to Lisbon Portugal, Madeira Portugal, which is   an island that's owned by Portugal, and it  actually, I'm pretty sure it's considered to be   on the African tectonic plate, so it's really close  to Morocco as where Madeira is located. ADRIAN: How did   you travel to these places? ISABEL: I flew to Lisbon, and  my roommate and I spent some nights in Lisbon, and   then we flew to Madeira, which the airfare is  like very affordable over here. I think it was   like a 20 Euro round trip from Paris to Lisbon and  like a 30 Euro round trip from Lisbon to Madeira   ADRIAN: Airfare in the U.S is very expensive  compared to some other countries. ISABEL: Yeah it's  

really interesting because people will be like,  you haven't traveled to these parts of the US?,   and I'm like no, because it costs 500 dollary just to fly  there, so no I have not. But it's very affordable.  I've been to Strasbourg, which  is a really interesting region because   it, during the like World War One and prior to  World War One, that was what was the disputed   land between Germany and France, so it kind  of went back and forth between being owned   by Germany, being owned by France, so it's like  a mix of two cultures, so really interesting.  Isabel went on to tell me about all  these places that she wants to visit   because airfare is so much cheaper within  Europe than coming from the United States.   But next I asked her about my favorite  topic, learning a new language. Alright,   so something I wanted to ask about was what is  it like learning French and speaking French, and   how is the French language going for you? ISABEL: I think it's going really well. I have been able to  

improve it a lot. My roommate is also, her  parents are French, so we also like, if there's   something I need to know, she generally will  like help me with it. I would say like if   especially if you're coming from like an English  background and learning French in particular,   one of the biggest critiques that I've  gotten is like English can be very choppy, like   you can take more pauses between things, like you  don't realize it obviously because that's what   you're speaking, but it's a lot more choppy than a  language like French. So when I'm speaking French   I'm applying like English habits to French, so  that amplifies my accent. So the biggest thing   I've got [from] native speakers is like speak  faster and connect more of your words.  

So that's something I'm really trying to work  on, is like if there's something I know I want   to say, you just kind of like running through  it and saying it faster than like being choppy   about it. Because I think as English speakers  tend to do stuff like that without realizing it.   ADRIAN: Okay, so is it really comfortable or are  you understanding most people around you?  ISABEL: Oh yeah yeah, I've been really fortunate and like  really happy that I've been able to communicate   with a lot of people. Because an assumption  that like a lot of people have when coming here   is that like, oh they'll speak English. Which a lot  of people do, but there are a lot of people don't,   so it's really good to even just know some like  basic phrases and stuff like that. So I've been   able to pretty much communicate with everyone, and  I can't really there's not really an instance that   sticks out to me that I was unable to communicate.  Like even if I don't understand every word, I'll  

hear a word that I know, so I under-- like I get  the gist of what they're saying. So that's been   good. I've been able to actually translate  for like English-speaking people before.   ADRIAN: Oh, that's cool. ISABEL: Yeah it's been really really good  especially for like improving my language ability   ADRIAN: Can you tell me about this slang? ISABEL: Yes definitely. So something  that's really interesting with everyday speaking  

here that's actually not talked about enough, at  least in French classes I've taken, is something   called verlan. And basically, what it is, is it's Pig  Latin essentially, so what you do is you take a   word, and you reverse it. So like the slang word and,  this is not like it's not derogatory or anything   like that, but like the slang word for woman, which  the original word is femme, f-e-m-m-e, you take it and   you reverse it, and it becomes meuf and that's what  people were, like if you go out and you are talking   to people, that's what they would say. Oh like  like so like that's how they would refer to it. So  

obviously being a newcomer that was hard because  I was just like, I don't what is a meuf. Like I know   femme but what is like, I don't know what that is. I'm trying to think of like -- even the word verlan   um comes from the word l'envers which means inverse, and  they inverse the word inverse and got verlan   Well Isabel, thank you for your time. I know  you're busy with some other things and so I'll   be letting you go now. ISABEL: Okay, great. Have a great  rest of your day. ADRIAN: Thank you for joining us. ISABEL: Okay.

ISABEL: It's an odd feeling, the feeling of yearning for  home while enjoying the new place for my feet are   planted. It begs the feeling of discomfort while  feeling content with being in such a foreign place .  I feel excited yet scared, nervous yet at peace, and  out of place, yet exactly where I'm supposed to be.  But I welcome it all. I'm becoming exactly who I'm  meant to be through this, and that makes me feel   happy above all else. Well thanks for joining us  and come back to the channel soon. Have a good one. [Music]

2023-04-03 23:28

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