Hometown: Hong Kong
Studied Abroad: Paris, France – Fall 2016
Concentration: Comparative Literature and French Studies
Graduation: Spring 2018
Natalie’s Experience Abroad
Q: Why did you study abroad?
A. As with most people who decide to study in France, my primary goal was to improve my French as much as possible. Despite having taken several courses in French literature (1000-level courses) here at Brown, I still felt that my French wasn’t up to par – I didn’t feel like I had an “intuitive” relationship with the language, and I realized that it was only by going to France and immersing myself completely in the language and the culture that I was going to achieve that level of fluency.
Q: What is Paris like?
A. Absolutely gorgeous, and surprisingly small and dense. My favorite city in the world.
Q: What is one difference between Paris IV and Brown?
A. The most significant difference between Paris IV and Brown, I felt, was that for the students at Paris IV (and I’d argue for students at most European universities in general, especially those in major cities), the university is only part of their lives, whereas for Brown students, Brown is their life – everything is centered around campus. Students at Paris IV almost all had part-time jobs outside of the university and the majority lived at home with their parents. This often means that it’s more difficult to form friendships at university, but I personally loved the liberty it gave me and that I could construct an identity that wasn’t dependent on a single institution or group of people.
Q: What do you miss about your time abroad?
A. EVERYTHING. My five months in Paris were honestly the best five months of my time at Brown. I loved the city, I loved the independence I had, and I loved the people I was there with and those I got to meet.
Q: Highlight from abroad?
A. Biking through Paris on a beautiful autumn day is absolutely incredible. Going for a run along the Seine as the sun rises isn’t too bad either. Having meals that lasted hours with friends is pretty great when the food is homemade. I also definitely took good bread, wine, and cheese for granted when I was there.