This week I had the chance to explore another city in France and practice what I have been learning in class with different French people. I went to Paris with friends that I met in this study abroad program and it was an experience like non other. Paris is huge compared to the city I have been living at and the way people speak there is also different.
In the North of France, people in general pronounce the letters of words a lot less than in the South and with a much heavier accent. Naturally, it was a lot harder to communicate with native French people while at Paris. Socially, it was also different than my city. Paris is very diverse ethnically, economically, etc. People of all sorts of races, sexual orientations, and ages were a lot more prominent.
I also had a chance to learn about the constant portests organized by a social movement called “the yellow vests”. This group protests for higher pay wages amongst other rights and is a very debatable topic in France. There are those who openly support and encourage the protests while there are others who believe that the true meaning of the protests has been lost since it began. Nevertheless, the “yellow vests” cannot be missed in Paris so there were hundreds of police and special forces vehicles present around the city.
Being able to explore France while studying abroad has definitely allowed me to improve my language skills and I would encourage others in the same position to give it a shot. There has been so much that I have learned about the language from speaking to young and older people alike that I did not learn in class. While I have a lot of schoolwork and classes are long, I am excited to continue seeing the results in my speaking and listening abilities.