Paris Core Laura Thomas

Studying at Institut Catholique de Paris

Laura – International Core Curriculum Paris Program

ACU Winter 2017

On the day of our first French class, our teacher Christine came into the room and proceeded to speak to us in French for the next hour and a half. Despite the instantaneous stress when expected to answer a question in another language and my limited vocabulary of “bonjour” and “baguette”, French class became one of my favourite parts of the university day. We participated in six 90 minute French classes over the two-week period and quickly learnt how to order items at cafes, ask for directions, and the meaning of the catchy tune, “Champs Elysees”. These classes were a lot of fun and helped us to experience more of the French culture.

For the group to gain the most out the content we studied in our tutorials, the UNCC300: Understanding Self and Society program included three excursions around Pairs.

Our first excursion was to the Immigration Museum where we learnt more about the history of France, and the changes that immigration has brought to the country. The museum featured the temporary exhibit “Ciao Italia!” where we browsed the art and were taught about the contributions that Italian immigrants have made to France.

We also had the privilege to visit The Shoah Memorial and learn about the French Jews and the impacts of the Holocaust. The memorial included the temporary exhibition “The Holocaust and comics.” This interpretation of the Holocaust was often confronting as the visuals captured the devastation and sorrow of the genocide. Despite the sadness of the memorial, I found this visit to be very eye-opening and moving.

Our final excursion was the Les Grand Voisins on the site the old Saint-Vincent-de-Paul hospital. Les Grand Voisins provides emergency housing for 600 vulnerable people in Paris. The site is funded by Yes We Can and aims to integrate those living there back into society. Les Grand Voisins included a camping ground, op-shop, restaurants, gardens and much to the excitement of the group, chickens! The neighbourhood was a unique and interesting place filled with a variety of art, culture and people. I found this project very interesting and look forward to seeing what it becomes over the next few years.

I have loved my experience at ICP and highly recommend anyone studying UNCC300: Understanding Self and Society to complete it overseas. I have made incredible friends and have enjoyed the content of the unit, places we have visited and the food we have had throughout our two-week program.