Duke Diary Dispatch: Bonjour, Paris!

Photo of Isabella Helton laid over a map of France and Europe

I was lucky enough to have grown up traveling, so I always imagined that I would complete at least a part of my studies abroad. After a bit of convincing within the French department (I had to take 2 French courses in one semester in order to go on this trip!) and many consultations with financial aid, I finally succeeded in embarking on this exciting adventure to Paris. Yes, Paris! Oh la la! C’est la ville de mon cœur. This will be my eighth or ninth time in this fantastic city, and I can’t wait to return to my favorite museums and cafes and discover new places with new friends.  

  While I’m on this trip through Duke’s Study Abroad program, I’ll be taking two French language/culture classes and working on bettering my French speaking, reading, and writing skills. Aside from academic requirements, I will be doing a bit of soul-searching and resetting in order to become realigned with who I am, where I am, and what I want. I plan to bring a copy of Charles Taylor’s The Ethics of Authenticity– one of my favorite philosophy books– and Meditations of the Heart by Howard Thurman.  

I picture my trip being one of joyous meetings with locals at the produce markets on the weekends, lazy afternoons spent reading on the grass of the Luxembourg Gardens, wide-eyed looks of disbelief shared between myself and my classmates at the flaky, buttery goodness of real croissants, and nights out to hidden dance clubs in the city playing electrifying French house music. I chose to return to France this summer because of my love for its culture, people, and diversity, and I am more than excited to re-discover these sentiments through the lens of the French language. À la prochaine!