First week of classes

Bonjour!! As the last event of our orientation week, we went to Versailles on Sunday. Because there are 36 of us, we had a special tour where we were allowed into rooms where other people were not. We only saw a tiny fraction of the palace in our two-hour tour, but it was very impressive. My favorite part was the gardens, which we explored on our own after the tour. The weather was really nice, and the gardens were beautiful.

This week was the first week of classes, and I am starting to create a routine and adjust to my new life here in Paris. I am taking four classes this semester. At Paris 3, I am taking a class about the acquisition of language for children between the ages of 0 and 3. Once a week we have a lecture of about 160 students, and once a week we meet in smaller groups of about 30 students to further explore the topics discussed in lecture. I am also taking an art history class that meets once a week in a classroom and once a week in one of the museums in Paris. The other two classes are a literature class focused on utopias and dystopias, and the other is a phonetics class. As in common at Colby, I only have class Monday through Thursday with a three-day weekend every week. I anticipate using some weekends to travel and explore other countries in Europe! This past Wednesday for my art history class, we went to the Louvre, and for homework we had to go back on our own time and write a formal description of a painting, which I did today. The Louvre is enormous and there is so much art there, so it is easiest to go and see it in small increments. I love that all the museums in Paris are free for students because it makes it so easy to go more often for shorter periods of time and do that.

Using public transportation is completely new for me, and I’m not going to lie: taking the metro is weird. To get anywhere from my house takes between 30 and 45 minutes, but I have not had any problems so far. There was a grève last week, but luckily it was during orientation, so I did not have to miss any classes just because I could not take the metro. The weather here has still been warm and sunny, and luckily I did not get much homework this week, so I was able to enjoy some time outside. I think that after this weekend, it is supposed to cool down and start raining.

Yesterday, I went to my first concert here!!! I saw a band from England called Sophie & the Giants. The opening band, Peach Fur, was from Australia. They play indie rock music, and they were pretty good and definitely fun to watch. Something I noticed while they were playing was their interaction with the audience. The venue itself was pretty small, and I would say about half of the audience knew the band personally. I was really surprised when they finished playing and several people I was standing next to went up onstage to help the band clean up. That was definitely a different vibe for me because I am not used to not being the person who knows the band. Then Sophie & the Giants played, and I was impressed. They play indie pop music, and their set was really fun. I have been looking for concerts to go to this semester, and I have not been able to find a lot of local bands like I can so easily when I am in Maine or Massachusetts. Most of the bands I have found playing shows here are from the UK, but I guess that is still a different experience for me because at home I really do mostly listen to small, local bands.

That’s all for now! À bientôt!!

– Mg