Learning and Having Fun in Paris

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I spent a semester in Paris with IES Abroad. Through this program I was able to take classes on the colonization of francophone Africa, feminism movements in France, and a sociology course, along with my grammar course. These classes were instrumental in broadening my worldview and how I view social movements and the perspectives of other cultures. I was able to gain a better understanding of how history can shape right and wrong and influence political discourse, not only for France but the ways in which the same has been done here in the United States in a way that is unique to America.
Also, thanks to this program I was able to complete an internship. This experience was invaluable, not only in helping me gain an understanding of French culture on another level, but in improving my language skills, and giving me experience that will be invaluable as I continue to move forward in my professional life. My internship was with an organization called Afrika Tiss, which is a fair trade organization that works specifically with female artisans and Malian refugees in Burkina Faso. In Ouagadougou the artisans there make jewelry, bags, and home accessories that are later sold in France as well as other countries. The production works on a small scale, but everything is made by hand in a way that preserves ancestral patterns and skills while also adding a modern touch. I met some incredible people through this internship and I learned a lot about humanitarian work and what that looks like from the inside.
IES from the beginning was very clear and helpful in terms of telling me what I would need while I was there and everything I would need to do before. The staff onsite was incredibly helpful in determining what courses would be best for me and for helping me find my internship. They had multiple excursions that helped me meet other students in the program and they also had so many meetings that helped me get acclimated to French culture and prepared me for the types of things that I might experience in my first few weeks in Paris. From the beginning the staff was readily available to help me and provide me with advice to help guide me through the early and often times difficult stages of my transition into Parisian culture. Even better, the entire staff was open to the suggestions of students so that they could continue to better the program for future classes of students. Overall the program was instrumental in helping me discover myself and broaden my education not only in an academic setting but also from an intercultural perspective.

What would you improve about this program?
I feel like this program would benefit a lot from discussing financial literacy and wealth inequality and how that can affect a students experience.
Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
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