Changing perceptions on world
After just a few weeks in Paris, I feel as though I have learned a semester’s worth of knowledge about this beautiful city. As cliché as it is to say this (and possibly downright annoying), this journey has already changed my perception of the world, and myself, forever. For those who have never lived in a foreign place, studying abroad can give you mixed emotions. At times I feel cultured and worldly, while at others I feel small and insignificant. However, both feelings contribute to developing an open mind, which is something I think all of us could use.
I’ve been trying to learn more French while studying here, which I have ashamedly struggled with a bit. In the process of learning, I found out that the French youth have come up with a way to confuse us novices even further than we are already with a slang coined “verlan.” In order to speak in verlan, one would take a word and either reverse the two syllabus or reverse the entire word all together, a bit like pig Latin, except extremely popular. For example, “cool” would be pronounced “looc” and “femme” could be switched to “meuf.” Great stuff for a struggling French student like myself.
I also found watching the news to be an eye opening-experience as well, not necessarily because of the way the French report news, but because of the content. Unlike in the U.S., the news seems to have a far more global scope, even on local channels. They talk of the war in the Middle East, immigration to Europe and hunger in Africa. While the U.S., does do this from time to time, it is usually on nationwide news channels such as CNN. So, finding out that Parisians are faced with global issues that don’t necessarily concern them directly gave me some insight on American media.
Now, one thing I must concede is that the U.S. does seem to have a leg up when it comes to cigarettes and recycling. First off, cigarettes are not yet banned in all public spaces, which means you could be sitting at a café in the morning and unsuspectingly inhale a giant puff of nicotine. I was never a smoker, so this took some getting used to. The second issue and only other issue I have is not being able to recycle. My family and I have been recycling since before we all got blue dumpsters in our alleys, so throwing away my take out container in the trash felt like the utmost sin. It’s confusing considering most of their plastic is recyclable, and you are encouraged to do so when you read the label. I’ll try and get to the bottom of this and keep you posted.
I’ve learned so much I could probably ramble on for 10 more paragraphs, telling you about the time I went grocery shopping and found out that a 2.5 litre of Evian is less than one euro (wow). And during that same trip, I found out that Paris is really that expensive. I could tell you about how you must beware of some cab drivers, and make sure you track yourself to your destination to be sure they don’t take the “scenic” route, as one of mine tried to do. I’ll save more stories for other posts, or better yet, go experience it all for yourself next semester.
Lucy Teruel is a junior majoring in communications and minoring in political science. Born and raised on the North Side of Chicago, Lucy loves music, French, shopping, going to the gym and traveling. She’s also an avid sports fan with a particular penchant for the Chicago Cubs. She hopes to one day become a sportscaster, so don’t be surprised if you catch her on the nightly news a few years from now.