Four weeks ago today, I dragged three overstuffed bags up four flights of stairs and dropped into a new life. After catching my breath, I took it all in: This cute apartment in historic Montmartre, the birthplace of cabaret, would be my new home for the foreseeable future.
Delighted and a bit disoriented, I unpacked my bags, taking periodic breaks to eat the ice cream that the previous tenants had left for me. They also left me a handwritten note, a few bottles of wine, and some other basic essentials.
It’s crazy to think that three years ago I didn’t speak a word of French. Now, I’m fully enrolled in Sciences Po Paris, taking 3 courses completely in French, as well as immersing myself in the culture.
I had never been to Paris before moving here. I didn’t expect to fall head over heels immediately, but everything I love about Austin exists here in a better way.
I’m a yoga teacher and a dancer, so every day I go to at least one studio to practice. The dance community here is so diverse in style, and I’ve enjoyed taking street jazz, tap dance, ballet, contemporary, hip hop and cabaret classes at Centre de Danse du Marais, a studio 30 minutes walking distance from my university, as well as LAX Studio, which is quite famous on TikTok (as there are professional videographers in most classes).
I’ve had some of the best classes of my life here, all taught in French. I even attended my first dance audition at Paradis Latin, Paris’s oldest cabaret. Dancing in heels is still very new to me and I didn’t get the job, but I felt so proud of myself for putting myself out there, dancing alongside hundreds of gorgeous queens and learning choreography in a language that still sounds to me like Simlish from time to time.
Although these days I spend more time studying than running around the city, I’m still getting my fair share of adventures.
This past Sunday, I went on my first Bumble BFF date with a fashion student from Brazil, and we really hit it off! We spent the day thrifting, doing yoga, and eating delicious food.
I’ve also found a lot of joy and enrichment in the extracurricular activities at Sciences Po. I joined the choir and the creative team of the fashion show and enrolled in the free singing and Feldenkrais lessons offered by the health center.
I love that the university promotes a holistic vision of health. I’m feeling healthier than ever here despite eating more butter than ever before.
Overall, I think French life agrees with me. Now all I need to do is secure citizenship.
This post was contributed by Analia Salomon, a Global Ambassador for Fall 2022. Analia is a Plan II Honors and French studies major with a history minor studying abroad in Paris, France.