Round 2

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My first week back for my second and final semester starts tomorrow. This time around I was ready for the inefficient French system and really tried my best to be organised. This meant sending emails to all the modules I wanted to do at the end of the December. However, despite my best efforts I’ve somehow ended up doing something a bit different from my original plan. The good news is that I haven’t missed the first two weeks of classes, so compared to last time, everything is looking good.

After having spent a great few weeks at home catching up with my family as well as managing to see some friends that I hadn’t seen since June it’s safe to say I wasn’t too pleased about coming back to Paris on the 7th of January to do my exams… Just to make it worse I only got back to my flat the night before my first two exams, and it really wasn’t easy dragging all that extra Christmas present weight up four flights of stairs. I couldn’t be happier that my exams are over and after a very well timed trip to London and the return of my boyfriend later, I’m now very excited to be here and to get back into the swing of things.


Now part of the Sorbonne!

Then again, now that the exams are out of the way, I’ve had more time to worry about my seriously full timetable. I feel very very sorry for the actual physics students here who basically work 8:30 – 18:00 every day. A very different experience to a Durham timetable in my opinion. One piece of exciting news is that my University has become part of the Sorbonne, which happened on the 1st of January which meant I came back to new signs and logos all around the campus. This also makes it a lot easier for me when people ask which university I got to, a ‘The Sorbonne’ is a lot simpler than ‘Université Pierre et Marie Curie’!

One thing I noticed straight away once I was back was that after three weeks of only speaking English, I was really struggling to understand any French. It really is one of those things where you need to use it or you’ll lose it! Even after a week of just enjoying Paris and relaxing I’m still not sure I feel ready to start learning in French again. Hopefully, by the end of next week I will have picked it all back up.

So since nothing new or exciting has really happened to me recently, I wanted to take a look back at my favourite moment from my first semester. For me this was realising that I was finally comfortable living in this new city. This was the moment when I realised that I can do the whole year and really enjoy it. I realised that I know the city, I can understand French, I can sort things out in a different language and live all by myself. I can’t say that it was a very memorable moment, or that I remember where I was when it happened, but there definitely was a moment and it was a really great feeling.


I can be French!




To finish off, I wanted to talk about my aims for the next semester. Hopefully by my last blog post I’ll be able to look back at this and say that I achieved what I set out to do. My reason for studying abroad was to experience living in a different country, look at physics from a different point of view but mainly to improve my French. With everything that happened in the first semester, I felt like I didn’t put my all into this, I still improved but I didn’t feel like I made the most of every situation. Because of this, my aims for the next semester are to make more French friends, speak more French in general and really make an effort to do this. Wish me luck!


Katie Looks Back on her First Semester

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Campus in the Spring

It’s strange celebrating a birthday away from home, especially a big one like 21. I don’t think I would have imagined my 21st birthday to be spent eating burgers with another friend’s family in a small town in Canada, but hey, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

Since the last blog post, life has been a whirlwind of activity: I have visited NYC for the first time with my family, sat the longest bout of “midterms” you will ever hear of, been to Montreal for a second time, experienced the Toronto Christmas Market, become closer friends with a few of the “locals”, attended handfuls of Zumba classes, and discovered the Williams Cafe on campus – a delightful island in a sea of overpriced bad food. Continue reading

Fukuoka and Osaka

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Thanks to my Dad’s work travel, I found myself in Japan again in May, and once again reunited with my parents. The trip started in beautiful Fukuoka, a relatively small seaside city in the south of Japan, famous for its baseball team – the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. The trip got off to an exciting start when I realised I was stopping off in South Korea on the way over (it was less exciting when I realised the terminal was 800m long and the stopover was 3 hours, but I still got some nice photos from the plane on the way in).

The view of Busan on my way into South Korea

The view of Busan on my way into South Korea

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