Strolling around Paris at the start of the program.

Max Kramer

Class of 2017, Psychology and Philosophy
Duke in France

  • Strolling around Paris at the start of the program.
Strolling around Paris at the start of the program.

Max Kramer graduated in May 2017 with an interdepartmental major between Psychology and Philosophy. The fall of his junior year, he studied abroad with Duke in Paris, just after doing a now-exempt program, Duke Neurohumanities in Paris, that summer. Here, Max reflects on his experiences during the semester with Duke in Paris


On how some of his ideas and perceptions changed as a result of doing this program… 


“I was disappointed by the lack of radical political engagement. I had an unreasonable expectation – it has been 200 years since the Commune, after all – but I was still let down. A western liberal democracy is still a western liberal democracy, even if the ruling party is nominally socialist. All you really get is a greater proliferation of student-made posters.” 


On why he chose the program… 


“For one thing, I wanted to experience what it was like to be a student in another culture, and more generally to live in another culture. This is fairly trite, but it’s true – I wanted to go somewhere different and live differently than I did in America. Furthermore, I wanted to spend time in Paris specifically for all the multitude of reasons that Paris is consistently an attractive and enviable place to live: its food, its parks, its architecture, its way of life. I wanted to read Breton in a small garden, so I went to Paris.” 

A statue in Paris the resonated with Max.
A statue in Paris the resonated with Max.


On how his skills and knowledge have improved, thanks to the program… 


“I am certainly more fluent in reading and hearing French than I was previously, even now that it has been three years since I had any French instruction. Taking the classes at French universities also helped to improve my writing, since the writing style is extremely regimented in philosophy classes there.” 



On how the program affected his post-graduation plans… 


“The only effect I can say that it had is that it gave me an example of a different style of teaching that is available to me while I serve as TA and instructor during my Ph.D. work – and should I be lucky enough to get a professorship somewhere.” 


The beautiful arched ceiling in one of Paris’ many churches and cathedrals.
The beautiful arched ceiling in one of Paris’ many churches and cathedrals.

On advice he has for other students preparing for this program… 


“Try to actually speak French as much as you can! I know it seems lame to speak French with other Americans (and honestly it may not even be that helpful), but the more you speak English, the more you are hurting the development of your French skills.”


Programs Featured:

Duke in Paris


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