Helena Archer rss Paris French Studies, Spring 2013

Helena Archer is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina studying public health, international studies, and creative writing. She loves all three, and is thrilled to be able to develop her interests abroad. During her semester in Paris, she hopes to engage and immerse herself in French and Parisian culture, and also to examine immigrant and francophone presence and relations. Helena loves hearing and telling stories, and can't wait to discover more of them in Paris.

Helena's Posts

  • Dragging It Out

    I said goodbye to my host mother and the little piece of Paris I carved out to be my home. I walked by the Eiffel Tower, which I used to run around, I bought a last almond croissant from my usual baker, and I slowly extricated myself from my room.

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  • Snail Mail (Love, Mum)

    It’s pretty common and pretty easy to get homesick while studying abroad, especially when you’re gone for a semester or even an entire year. As I actually go to school in my hometown, this semester is by far the longest amount of time I’ve spent away from my parents.

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  • Spring Comes to Paris

    Paris is a fantastic city at any time of the year, but I’m afraid I would have to disagree with Owen Wilson about the rain. In the sunlight, the city is vibrant and loses a little of the gray and gloom that twist through the alleyways. It’s full of little parks, and at any time you might find a few older people, each on their own bench reading or staring out in front of them, a group of teenagers smoking and laughing, or a few adorable, stylish children.

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  • Giverny

    Last weekend I caught up with a girl who studied abroad in the US in the summer of 2009, and actually stayed with my family for a few weeks. Noémie is living with her sister in the city and studying podiatry, and she invited me to her parent’s house, in a little town just outside of Paris, on Sunday.

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  • By the Sea (Spring Break Part 2)

    And this is precisely why I like to travel: I love being able to call Paris my home, but I can’t let myself get too comfortable. I want to find all of the new things that I can.

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  • Through the Chunnel (Spring Break Part 1)

    Paris is characterized by many things, or has many trucs, as you might say in French. These include a gray winter atmosphere and a reflective attitude of nonchalance and somberness, not to mention an abundance of black coats. London has a very different feel, and perhaps it was the sunlight, being on vacation, or the gorgeous open market I discovered next to my hostel, but to me it was lighter and seemed to mix more of the English countryside and a “hearty” pride into the central parts of the city.

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  • The Wandering Minstrel on Metro Line 4

    Paris is known as a lot of things; the City of Lights, the City of Love, the fashion capital, or Paname (less common for non-French people). However, spend a day there and you’ll discover what’s even more present than sparkly towers, eccentric outfits, and overly affectionate couples: street music.

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  • Bon Appetit/Buon Appetito/Let’s Eat!

    It was cold, as always, but still beautiful, and my first time being the one to show people around rather than being led around. I’ve finally conquered the labyrinth of metro tunnels, finally know exactly what to ask for when I go into a boulangerie, and finally am walking around Paris like it’s my home. I’m so very glad to be here.

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  • Nothing Toulouse

    This past weekend, taking to get a break from the grim gray of the Paris sky and the cold, my friend and I decided to take a trip to Toulouse, located in the south of France near the Spanish border and not too far from Barcelona. We stuffed a couple days’ clothes into backpacks/duffel bags, loaded ourselves onto a train, and after seven long and uneventful hours by train through the French countryside, we finally made it.

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  • Candles, Crêpes, and Champagne

    When my sister invited me over for crêpes at her boss’s apartment, I didn’t realize I was actually attending a traditional French celebration.

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  • La Lune De Miel

    Although I’ve been here for several days, I still have trouble wrapping my mind around what 4 months entails and acknowledging the challenges. So for now, I’ll allow myself to enjoy the wonder of having a 324 m metal structure and buildings that have weathered wars and triumphs and revolutions at my fingertips.

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  • On Edges

    I won’t pretend I’m not nervous, but I know that in the next few weeks and months, it will all be worth it. I can’t wait to look over the edge of the Eiffel Tower, to stand on the edge of the Loire Valley, even to stare at the edges of the cobblestone streets I’ll get to walk down, simply because I’ll be living out what I’ve always wanted.

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