My Duke in Paris Experience

By Ebony Hargro

  • Ebony Hargro
Outside the Opera building, our first group excursion in Paris. Photo by Michael Ivory.

Tell us why you decided to do this program.

I decided to do Duke in Paris because I wanted an immersive experience where I could practice my French every day. Taking two classes also allowed me to complete my minor as a sophomore, which was extremely convenient.

Since taking my first French class in middle school, I’d dreamt of going to Paris. Applying for this program as soon as I could was really a no-brainer for me.

During a weekend excursion to Provence, France. Photo taken by Michael Ivory.
During a weekend excursion to Provence, France. Photo by Michael Ivory.

 

Thinking back to what you expected this program to be like, would you say anything surprised you or turned out differently?

I was surprised as how free I was in my program. We had class every day from morning until afternoon, and occasionally a mandatory after-class experience, but apart from that we were typically free to roam around and explore. There were no curfews or anything (at least not with my host family) so I was able to fully take advantage of the night life in Paris.

I also thought that by the end of my six weeks I’d be ready to leave – not true. The time really flew by and I wish I could have spent more time there.

on the coast of France during a weekend excursion to St. Malo. Picture taken by Michael Ivory.
On the coast of France during a weekend excursion to St. Malo. Photo by Michael Ivory.

 

Tell us about your greatest takeaway from this program.

Biggest takeaway: the world is mine. In Paris, I became so comfortable with the city by the end of my six weeks there that I could navigate the Paris alone with no trouble. Strangers were surprised when I told them I was American. It was quite the empowering experience and I realized I really loved big cities!

Hiking to get a better view of the oldest aqueduct in France! Picture taken by Michael Ivory.
Hiking to get a better view of the oldest aqueduct in France! Photo by Michael Ivory.
Me atop Mont St. Michel, one of the most visited tourist sites in France! Picture by Michael Ivory.
Me atop Mont St. Michel, one of the most visited tourist sites in France! Photo by Michael Ivory.

 

How did/will this program play into the rest of your undergraduate experience? 

The following semester, I studied abroad in Geneva, Switzerland. My summer in Paris was a great preparatory program for being in Europe for what would be 4 months. I was also able to visit Paris again during a business excursion with my program and it was amazing being familiar with the city.

What advice do you have for other students considering this program?

Think about what you want to do with your French and see if this program will help you accomplish your goals. If you're looking for totally immersive, challenging summer experience that will boost your confidence in speaking and reading French, then definitely apply!

If you’ve already been accepted, come up with a bucket list of things you want to do (anticipate your list expanding each day) and stick to it! One of my regrets is not checking off everything on my list before I had to leave.
 

 

Ebony Hargro
International Comparative Studies, Class of 2018
Duke in Paris, Summer 2016
SIT - Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy, Fall 2016

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