AUCP students have a lot in common. Whether they’re studying in Aix or in Marseille, they share a passion for all things French, a commitment to go the extra mile to reach French fluency, the desire to become part of the local community and to create lasting friendships in France, they come from top American universities and are often among the brightest in their class.
And while they share a lot, each one is unique. Today, we’d like you to meet Annalise. This is part of an on-going series on Le Blog designed to introduce you to current AUCP students, and to show you how, despite their many similarities, they each have their own unique way of living with and like the French at the AUCP.
Annalise is a junior at Fordham University, at the Lincoln Center campus in Manhattan. A French and Psychology double major from New Jersey, Annalise has been studying French since high school. While she’s visited the Netherlands and the UK, this is her first time in France. Back in New York, she is part of the Fordham Women’s Choir, Poetry Collective & Campus Ministry.
Bonjour Annalise! For starters, how would you sum up your first six weeks here at the AUCP?
Bonjour! Well at the beginning, I was pretty lost – both physically and emotionally. In the first few days, I was worried that I would need more stability, but little by little, I’ve keep an open mind and now, I’ve really embraced the fact that I’m not here to stay in my comfort zone. I’ve made a sincere effort to try new things every day – all the while knowing that sometimes I’m lost all over again, and that’s ok, because sometimes it goes really well! And I feel so proud when I can hold an entire conversation in French, order dinner and people understand me.
Can you tell us a little bit about your French language partner?
My language partner is a student at the university across the street from the AUCP – he studies engineering. I was pretty nervous to meet him at first, because it was kind of like a blind friend date! But our personalities match up pretty well, he’s really nice, extremely smart and fun to hang out with. It’s funny because he was really excited to show me this « American » restaurant – he took me to a bagel store with « real New York bagels. » I got to hang out with his friends too, and I’m overall really happy that it’s going well. I’m also on the waiting list to get a second language partner, because I’m really curious to meet other French students too.
What are you doing for your community service?
I’ll be volonteering at the Aix Alzheimer’s home with alzheimer’s patients. I actually worked in a similar clinic in New York, and it’s pretty compatible with my psychology major. I’m impatient to start, and excited about all of the different therapies that they use – like music, dance and art therapy. I wasn’t able to start before now due to some administrative problems at the clinic, but I’m starting next week and I can’t wait.
What club or personal interest activity did you choose?
I’m not an artist, but like I said, I’m trying new things! I’m taking art classes at the Atelier Indigo. Right now, I’m painting a teapot and a teacup – way harder than it sounds! But I like it and I’m learning an artistic vocabulary in French. Sometimes I meet up with the other students at Coco Bohème (a local coffee/tea room) after the class. The professor actually said that learning to draw and paint was like learning a language – so I’m learning the language of art and the French language at the same time.
Can you tell us a little bit about your host family?
I live with Yves and Sylvie and their two sons, who are 14 and 16 years old. My host brothers ask a lot of questions about American culture, music, artists; they are really curious. But I am too, and we talk about French culture and music too. My host father LOVES hiking, he regularly hikes the Sainte Victoire nearby. We hike together, watch movies, and every evening I try something new. My host dad made cauliflower in a way that I’d never tried before – and that, I really liked. Another time, I tried andouillette (a spicy sausage made of stomach and intestine). That, I did not like at all. (We don’t blame you – sorry andouillette lovers!).
What is your favorite class so far?
Without a doubt, French Cultural Patterns. It’s really interesting to try and understand and compare the psychology of French and American culture, and see how culture can so deeply influence ways of thinking and perceiving the world. Before this class, it was difficult for me to separate culture and psychology, or see how they were linked. I’m getting a better idea of what American culture is, and how it has influenced my habits and lifestyle. And, Jean-Michel is really cool.
You just got back from one week of Winter vacation. How does it feel to be back?
I visited Vienna, Salzburg and Prague. It was absolutely beautiful! I brought back some chocolate and Speculoos (cinnamon cookie) butter for my host family. I really enjoyed sharing photos of my trip with them. But it felt so good to be able to speak and understand the language again. And I had missed the hot chocolate at Coco Bohème! I think going away made me realize that I’m actually more in my comfort zone here in France than I thought, and I’m glad to be back.
Merci Annalise!! If you’d like to learn more about Annalise, you can check out her study abroad blog (that she impressively writes in both French and English), « Annalise-en-Provence ». And, Meet more AUCP students, here.