Studying Abroad in Paris: Dispatch from Harrington Interior Design Student Holly Hodgerson
July 23, 2012
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Guest blogger Holly Hodgerson, a Harrington College of Design Interior Design student, shares her experience studying abroad in Paris with Harrington’s International Studies Program.
I never imagined a dream like this would come true, but it has. It has been seven days since I arrived in Paris, and I still wake up every morning and think, “Wow, I’m in Paris.” It seems so unreal and I am thankful every day for this opportunity.
So far the experience has been nothing short of wonderful. Cite Universitiare is so nice: the rooms are small but cozy and the setting is charming. The French are extremely friendly. It gets tough sometimes not being able to understand what they’re saying to you or not being able to read anything, but everyone has been very helpful and understanding. We’re slowly picking up the French language since we’re around it every day, so hopefully by the end of the trip we will have learned a lot. All of the students from California [from Harrington sister school Brooks Institute] are wonderful; we have been doing a lot of group activities together.
Monday, the second day here, we had our orientation meeting at Sup de Pub, a restaurant at Cite Universitiare. We met the staff and went on a tour of the school. The teachers are very friendly and the school is beautiful. I am looking forward to starting the classes this week. That evening a group of us met at the Louvre to watch the sunset and get dinner. The Louvre is much larger than I was expecting and the architecture is breathtaking. Actually, the architecture in this whole city is amazing.
Tuesday was the first day I saw the Eiffel Tower. It’s Sunday now and I have seen it multiple times, and every time I see it I can’t stop staring, it’s so unreal.
Over the past few days, I’ve walked around the area of the school campus and found some awesome antique furniture stores. I definitely plan on finding more in the future because the antiques here are so unique from anything I’ve ever seen! Also, I recently ventured with a fellow Harrington student to a neighborhood near one of the busy Metro stops, Chatelet les Halles. The shopping is affordable and we had lunch at a great restaurant, spending some time just hanging out.
Dining here is different than it is at home; waiters find it rude to give you your check unless you ask for it, so you can literally sit there for hours before you even pay. It’s nice and a much slower-paced environment. We were actually joking one day that when we get back to Chicago, fellow pedestrians will be upset at our slower-paced walk we picked up while in Paris!
On Friday all of the photography students went to see a photography exhibit, but a fellow interior design student and I were itching to see some art. We went to the Foundation Cartier museum to see an African Art Exhibit. It was beautiful. On the top floor of the museum there was a library that contained a variety of interior design books which were fantastic - I would’ve bought them all if I could’ve! We also found a lighting showroom which we were very excited about.
On Saturday a large group of the students and the two teachers from Brooks went on a 6-mile bike ride through the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. It was gorgeous. We were surrounded by wonderful scenery: ponds, rivers, trees, a waterfall and a lot of beautiful old bridges and buildings.
I look forward to learning new things in the weeks to come and sharing them on this blog!