“Paris is always a good idea” according to actress Audrey Hepburn, and now Courtney Fadler, a senior at the University of Kentucky, would have to agree! Courtney, who is an Elementary Education major, studied abroad through a KIIS program offered this summer in Paris, France.
What program did you go on and what courses did you take?
I studied abroad in Paris, France for 30 days on a UK partner program with KIIS through Western Kentucky University. The courses I took were Nonverbal Behaviors and the History of the French Revolution.
Did you have an immersion course on the French culture or language?
We had an orientation at Western Kentucky University, but I didn’t know any French going over there. I thought it would be a challenge trying to communicate, but for the most part they knew English.
There were 5 UK students that went to Paris, but the majority of the students were from Eastern Kentucky University. There were 33 students total and 32 of them were girls!
Did you experience any kind of culture shock or have a hard time adjusting when you got there?
It was a bit difficult to get adjusted to the time change. Most of Europe doesn’t have air conditioning, so sleeping when it was in the 80’s outside was a bit of a challenge. They also don’t put ice in your drinks, but some restaurants gave us ice because we were Americans.
Did you try any traditional French cuisine?
I DEFINITELY didn’t try snails. That was never going to happen. I of course had a chocolate croissant every morning for breakfast. They taste A LOT better than they do in the States. I miss that the most! We also ate a lot of crepes, especially Nutella and banana. Nutella is a big deal in Europe!
What was a typical day like for you guys in France?
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were mainly spent in the classroom or with the class around Paris. Thursday through Sunday was completely free. We had the choice of traveling to another country or stay in France. The first weekend we went to Normandy and Palace of Versailles. The second weekend I went to London. The third weekend I went to Belgium. The last weekend was spent in Paris. We were always on the go and would walk about 15 miles a day!
Did you try to speak to any natives in French?
I don’t know any French besides the basic Bonjour and Au Revoir. My professor for the Nonverbal Behavior course would always say “allons-y”, which means, “let’s go”. For the most part, the natives were able to speak English.
Did you explore the city on your own at all?
The only time I was ever alone in Paris was when I went to exchange money. For the most part, I was always with my roommate, Destini Engle.
Where did you and your friends go in the city?
We went just about everywhere. We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triumph. We spent about 4 hours in the Louvre. We shopped a lot, and ate a lot of crepes outside the Eiffel Tower. We walked around Musee d’Orsay, saw 2 statues of liberty, went into Louis Vuitton, saw where Princess Diana passed away, Notre Dame, Luxembourg Gardens and ventured to so many more places. One night we even went to a friendly futbol match between Belgium and France.
What is your favorite memory of your time studying abroad?
My favorite memory was going to one of the many “love lock” bridges. My Grandpa passed away the second day I was there. He loved to travel and was ecstatic that I had the chance to study abroad. I locked a lock on the bridge in honor of him and made a promise to him and myself that I would return to Paris.
If you had the chance to study abroad again, would you go back to Paris? If not, where would you go and would you go for the same duration?
I would definitely go back! That was an incredible program, and it was by far the best decision I have ever made. I would visit Paris, but study in a country I haven’t been to before. I would love to go to Greece or Spain! A month was the perfect amount of time to be away, but I could spend all summer in one of those places.
What advice would you give to a fellow UK student who is thinking about education abroad?
I would tell them to try everything! Don’t ever say no to an opportunity. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and experience new things. Paris will always have a piece of my heart, and it has forever changed my life.
Photos courtesy of Courtney Fadler.
Victoria Bailey is a junior at the University of Kentucky studying Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Danielle participated in the UK Sponsored: Energy Tomorrow: An Engineering and Management Perspective program at the University of New South Wales during summer 2014.