Classes, en français

This post was originally featured in the blog of API Paris student Rachel Tumin, who is participating in the spring 2011 API/UMass Université Paris Diderot program.

College Life in Paris,  by Rachel Tumin

The reason I chose to come to Paris through the UMass-API program is because it allows me to take classes at a Paris university in French and with French students. Before these classes start, we had a 10 day intensive language course, or “stage“, to help us prepare.

Our stage began on Thursday, January 6 at our school, Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7. Getting to the right classroom in Diderot, a former flour storehouse, is an adventure on its own and even with our experienced Director Anne-Marie leading the way, we took a few wrong turns. Only slightly out of breath from having run up four flight of the wrong stairs, we were deposited in a large classroom with other international students to begin our day.

We were given some breakfast snacks with general introductions and scheduling information to follow. We were then separated into two groups according to our proficiency, as had been determined by some portion of the three placement tests we took earlier. For both groups, the day would be split in two: half dedicated to language studies, the other to culture.

We scurried off to our classrooms and found seats. Our professor, Cécile, asked us to introduce ourselves and we did. Our group included a young man from Germany studying philosophy, a girl from the Netherlands also named ‘Rachel’, three young women from Italy, a Bulgarian student studying math in Germany, and variety of other European students. We–Americans from API–also made up a sizable portion of the class.

Our first task was reviewing the subjunctive.

I was in a French immersion program as a child where we learned the regular Montgomery County Public Schools curriculum, but in French. Montgomery County students do not study grammar, and so neither did I. I frequently encounter issues in that I know how a sentence ought to sound, but I am unfamiliar with the conjugation rules as to why or how it should be written. So, for me, French grammar has always been a struggle.

Our professor spoke to us and instructed us, in French. We were addressed as adults who had chosen to undertake studies in the French language and that was what was to be spoken in class. We made it though the worksheet and corrections, covering why certain conjugations work certain ways and important rules to keep in mind. And although my brain acts like Teflon when it comes to actually remembering these things, I certainly understood them at the time.

The class broke for lunch and we set off to explore the campus CROUS cafeteria. (Feeding oneself in Paris will be the topic of my next post.)

The afternoon was dedicated to learning about various neighborhoods of Paris and discussing the upcoming week. As a part of our stage, we would be touring l’Hôtel de Ville, an exhibit of French cinema, and the main building of the Sorbonne. We were also given the option of seeing a French production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, for 5 Euro.

As soon as class ended for the day, it was off to the API Center for a showing of Amélie, crêpe-making, and general getting-to-know each other, which I don’t think anybody skipped because, hey, free dinner.

Follow Rachel all semester long at

Enter your name and email to get new posts by email!

“Best of the Blogs” -
“Top Study Abroad Blogs” -
“Blog of the Week” -
“Top 10 Study Abroad Blogs You Should Be Reading” - The Study Abroad Blog
"The Best Meaningful Travel Articles of 2016"
  • We use cookies to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you have provided. Please check out our privacy policy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Speak Your Mind



[fts_pinterest pinterest_name=apiabroad type=boards_list]


Sep 25, 2021 @ 15:47
With research and planning, you can find a study abroad program that fits your budget. We believe in being up-front with what’s included and avoiding hidden fees.

#apiabroad #ispyapi @apiabroad @shsustudyabroad
APIabroad photo
Sep 24, 2021 @ 16:40
Photo contest!
APIabroad photo
API Abroad @APIabroad
Calling all API alumni! We know you have some amazing photos from your time abroad with API and guess what?! You now have the chance to win up to $500 cash for showing them off in our 2021 API PHOTO CONTEST!

Click the link to enter!
Sep 21, 2021 @ 12:12
API will be on campuses across the country in the coming days and we would love to talk to you! Come say hi at one of the fairs listed below, and grab some free swag. You can also enter to win a $1,000 flight voucher!

Check out the fairs this week!
APIabroad photo
Sep 20, 2021 @ 17:45
Calling all API alumni! We know you have some amazing photos from your time abroad with API and guess what?! You now have the chance to win up to $500 cash for showing them off in our 2021 API PHOTO CONTEST!

Click the link to enter!
APIabroad photo
The API Abroad Blog