I Learned: Even though I’d taken French languages courses up to the 300 level at BU, I couldn’t really speak the language until I had to take courses with Parisian professors and haggle over fruit prices with vendors.
I also learned that when all else fails: charades.
Comparing/Contrasting My Work Experiences: The business I interned for in Paris was trying to expand globally, so they had a number of interns from very different backgrounds. Almost all of the businesses I’ve worked for in the US have only had American employees, which leads to a relatively limited perspective in the workplace. I’ve really only worked with small businesses, but my experiences with coworkers have been extremely positive in both France and America. Side note: for anyone who will be living in France, the French are much more direct about topics that Americans consider controversial like politics or religion. Don’t take offense!
Hardest Part: Once I was accused of stealing an apple from Monoprix (basically the French Target) by an over-zealous security guard. It was traumatizing.
Best Part: The best part of being abroad was making connections with both the other students on my program and fellow travelers. I’m still in contact with people I met in random European hostels!