Paris-dise: Experiences in the BU Paris Internship Program

The Paris Internship Program (PIP) is a study abroad option at Boston University. The program is divided into two parts, the first half of the semester is classes and the second half is interning at a French company.

After two years of college in the COVID-19 era, I like many others, was ready to travel outside of the U.S. again. I’ve always been interested in studying abroad but did not think I would get the opportunity because of COVID-19. Since BU was running the program in Fall 2021, I figured I’d test my luck with Spring 2022. I was deciding between the Paris and London programs, and ultimately decided on Paris because I wanted to learn a new language in an immersive setting. 

I had never taken a French class before arriving in France. I deeply considered applying to London because it is an English-speaking country, but couldn’t shake the feeling that Paris was the choice for me. Another deciding factor was that Paris is in the European Union, and I wanted to be able to travel between countries with fewer restrictions. While the London program has more Public Relations options, I chose Paris because it excited me more.  

After submitting my application I began trying to learn French on Duolingo. I was able to pick up some vocabulary, however the app is not very helpful for learning grammar. I also began to watch shows I’ve already watched in English dubbed in French, such as You, Community, and Big Mouth. I also watched French shows such as Lupin.

The PIP offers two tracks of European-based classes, an English-speaking track and a French-speaking track. My classes in the English track were comparative European politics, French urbanism and architecture, and beginner French. Due to the classes only being half the semester, they were very fast paced and honestly, overwhelming. My French class was particularly difficult because I’ve never taken French before and had some trouble learning. But, after I started meeting with a tutor I was able to understand the grammar better. The architecture class was the most enjoyable because the professor was very hands-on, and two-thirds of the classes were spent visiting churches, parks, and historical landmarks in Paris. Comparative European politics was interesting but very dense. Classes were 2.5 hours long and a bit exhausting, but somehow went by quickly. 

In the beginning of February I had my internship interview with a Fertility startup called Freya and got the position. I will be working with their social media and general PR teams, and am very excited to start at the end of March.

My first few weeks in France were very frustrating because of the language barrier. I was very upset with myself for not going to an English speaking country. I felt isolated and very concerned with what the remainder of my time would be like in France. However, with the help of the new friends I made when I first landed, I began to adjust and learn common phrases. Many of them have been studying French for their entire academic career, so they helped translate for me. Being abroad can be very stressful and isolating, so it’s important to remember that everyone is experiencing the same culture shock, and it’s okay to ask for help. 

Now, at the beginning of March, with finals behind me, I am so happy with my decision to come to Paris. I hadn’t considered this when applying to the program, but I have learned how to be a better global citizen by expanding my views and understanding of how the world operates.

My advice to any student who is considering studying abroad is to not limit yourself to an English-speaking country. While it was difficult at first, I have learned so much so fast, and am doing better everyday. Also, don’t be afraid to apply to a program that does not have classes directly related to your major because there’s a good chance the internship section of the program will be related. 

I cannot wait to start my internship after spring break and explore Paris more! Until then, here are some of the expeditions I’ve been on so far:

BU organized a wine tasting at the Wine Museum. 10/10 would go again.

At the beginning of February, I took a quick trip to London to see my friends who are studying abroad!

Mid-February I took a quick trip to Florence, Italy to see some family!

Would it even be an article about Paris if there wasn’t a picture of Notre Dame?

Pictured here is the Sainte-Chapelle, located on the Île-de-la-cité is one of my favorite spots.

For spring break my friends, Fiona and Johnny, and I went to Portugal! Next stop, Spain!

Ava Gupta, Staff Writer

Ava Gupta is a junior in the College of Communication studying public relations. Raised in Somerville, Massachusetts, Ava has always enjoyed city life. She is currently studying abroad with BU’s Paris Internship Program! Ava is passionate about women’s rights, traveling, and now learning french. She is overjoyed to be part of the COMmunicator team in Paris!

Lily Roeller, Senior Editor

Lily Roeller is a second-semester graduate student earning her Master of Science in public relations here at BU. Prior to BU, Lily graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2020 with a bachelor’s in communication and sociology. She currently is an account supervisor at PRLab, managing two client teams. In her free time, Lily loves hiking with her dog and watching bad movies.

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