Study Abroad: Study Abroad Profile: Nora Landis-Shack '13
Nora Landis-Shack, a psychology major with a peace, justice and human rights concentration and a French minor, spent the spring semester studying at The Sorbonne-Nouvelle and Sweet Briar College in Paris where she was able to improve her French language skills and take in the rich culture.
Why did you choose Paris?
A love of Paris has always run in my family. My father lived there for a short time when he was young, and we’ve had a few family vacations to the surrounding areas of France. I’ve always wanted to be fluent in French, and I knew that going to a French-speaking city would make that dream a reality. Paris is such a gorgeous city with so much to explore! I wanted to immerse myself in literature, food, philosophy, and art, and Paris seemed like the perfect place to do so.
What did you learn outside of the classroom?
The trickiest and eventually the most rewarding thing to learn in Paris was the use of idiomatic expressions. There are so many silly things to say! My favorite was learning how to use en faite, which is pretty much the French equivalent of our saying like every other word. I remember one day I was speaking to my host mom and it just slipped out naturally, the way like does for me in English! It was a sign to me that I was really absorbing the language.
What is the most surprising thing that happened to you there?
I was surprised by how much time I spent on my own and how much I loved it! By the end of my semester, as the weather was just starting to get warm, I would use my days off from class to wander around the entire city. On my last day I walked a half-marathon! It was so relaxing to stroll along and absorb all the sounds, sights, and smells of the city. And in doing so, I was also surprised to realize that I felt like the city had become my second home.
What did you bring back?
My time abroad really helped me learn to properly appreciate the simple things in life. In France, many of the things we take for granted here in America are treated with a love and concern so intense that it clearly runs through the roots of the culture. Long walks, good company, and good food are all inherent to the "good life" ideal in Paris. And because of that, I’ve developed a deep affection for Camembert and fresh baked baguette, a glass of wine and a book on the terrace.