Ashley: Paris, France

Chateau de Fountainbleau.

Chateau de Fountainbleau

Ashley Byczkowski, Notre Dame.

Outside Notre Dame

Life in Paris… what can I say? C’est magnifique! Existing between the two milieus of professional and student has allowed me to access a whole new understanding of what it means to live in the City of Lights.

As a student, being able to attend conferences, colloquium and “journée d’études”, in addition to auditing two classes at Paris-Sorbonne, has opened my eyes to the differences between French and American academia and has inspired many ideas for my own project and academic career.

On the teaching side, spending around 13 hours a week with over 100 French and International students has given me a more global perspective on many of the issues being faced by society today. Also, it’s aided me in understanding and respecting the many cultural differences that exist amongst even such relatively similar countries as France and the United States.  

My daily Parisian lifestyle of commuting to work, punching in hours at the library, and catching up with friends at cafés comes with a strange sentiment towards the touristy part of the city. The Eiffel Tower is so “out of the way”, I rarely see it! And Sacré Cœur feels almost like a day trip away! In the end however, this provides me with the opportunity to play tourist whenever I feel I’m getting too stuck in the “metro, boulot, dodo” of being a Graduate Student and Teaching Assistant. And for that, I am so grateful for the Université Paris-Diderot Exchange. It has deepened my love for the French culture, language and literature and I look forward to bringing this joy and passion back with me in the fall.  

– Ashley Byczkowski