Ebony Hargro

Ebony Hargro

Class of 2018, International Comparative Studies
Duke in Paris
SIT-Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy

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.


Programs Featured:

Duke in Paris




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"I was looking to gain internship experience this summer, but I was unsure of what in-person opportunities would be available."

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From Paris to Provence, and Every Boulangerie in Between

"Of the cultural differences between these regions and Paris, the cuisine was the most interesting to experience, and what I was looking forward to the most."

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Gabby Bunnell on Duke in Paris

"Naturally, as we ate, we spoke in French so my conversational ability rapidly improved, as did my knowledge of French culture. My host mom told incredible stories. Once she told me about how she fled Paris during World War II. I’ll always carry that with me.” 

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"The program does an amazing job matching students with families for the homestay! My host mom worked in a field similar to the one I would like to go into, and I was able to learn not only the French language, but also about what was happening in France that related to my interests."

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Max Recounts Paris Experience: The Language and the Land

“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.”

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Surprises and Highlights of Jessica's Parisian Summer

"It was truly a learning experience through and through, I was constantly learning the language, the environment and culture, and also about myself and how to push myself out of my comfort zone. The highlight of my trip, among many amazing experiences, was building a relationship with my host family throughout the six weeks."

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"In Aix, I learned that learning a new language is not just about the language ... it is about being grateful to the people that allow you to have the experience of studying in such a rich, immersive program, from your host family to your professors to your university."

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Paris Host Mom Also a Friend for Madison Mastrangelo

"Not only did my host mom help me with French, she became a good friend, and I always looked forward to our dinners and daily conversations. Before arriving in Paris, I did not anticipate that living with a homestay would play such an integral role in my study abroad experience. I still keep in touch with my host mom, and I am excited to visit her when I return to Paris in the future."

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Words That Don’t Translate: Flâner (French)

By Brittany Wong

The verb “flâner” is absolutely essential in Parisian culture, but lacks a real equivalent in English: my best approximation would be “to stroll contemplatively.” Some of my best memories are of calm moments with “livres de poche” in the elegant Jardin du Palais Royal or observing precocious French children in Parc Sainte-Perrine near my homestay.

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Study Abroad in Paris Inspired Daniel's Senior Thesis and Plans for a Ph.D.

"After a semester in Paris, I felt really satisfied with the experience and wanted to practice my French even further; that was why I stayed for the whole year in the City of Light. Some of the courses I took in Parisian universities were so cool, especially a course on the history of French language, where I actually learned Old and Medieval French."

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Through Duke in Montreal, I spent part of July in Quebec City studying economic and cultural development of the region and meeting with such figures as the Minister of International Relations and the U.S. Consul General.

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"Aix-en-Provence is the ideal locale for six weeks of immersing yourself in French culture and living with a host family. French is my second foreign language (I’m an English and Spanish double major) and this intensive course has been exactly what I need—the highlight of my experience has been gaining confidence in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing French!"

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