My year as an Erasmus student may be officially be over, however my time in Paris thankfully is not! There’s nothing that interesting to report concerning the end of an ‘era’ at the Sorbonne, so I’ll move on to my last fortnight or so as a stagiaire. Whilst a lot of students often get lumbered with muppet tasks during work experience placements such as photocopying and making rounds of tea and coffee, I have been lucky enough to experience quite the opposite. I’m currently writing articles in French giving general advice on Erasmus life in Paris and on things to see and do in the capital. At first I was surprised that my boss had so much faith in my level of French – though after having had all my work proof read I was happy to find out that I had very little (and often trivial) mistakes! My next task is translating them into English – whilst this shouldn’t be hard obviously, though I am being cautious and reading my work through thoroughly in search of Franglicisms.
What’s really nice about my work experience is the fact that there are also three other young French stagiares in the office. The office environment is therefore always pretty fun with banter between everyone (often coming from my boss actually!) He is a pretty funny character, always laughing, singing, making jokes or telling us anecdotes. He amuses himself by having nicknames for us all – I’ve been given ‘petit pudding’ due to my English roots I think…It was kinda irritating at first, though its funnily growing on me! Lunch breaks are also always fun chatting with the young stagiaires, which can be summed up so far by the following: comparing nights out, eating macarons, being asked about London and my opinion of the French and general student chit-chat. My favourite moment so far has got to be when I was asked ‘Selina, qu’est que ça veut dire « un wonker » en anglais?’ – after a few seconds of confusion followed by a fit of giggles, I realised my workmate meant wanker! I did also have to break to the Frenchies that nobody uses swag en Angleterre (unless slang has dramatically changed in the past year that is…)
Whilst my time during the week is limited whilst juggling between my stage, babysitting, English tutoring and a paid part-time job writing articles for a website (yes, I have become superwoman), I do still make the most of my free time. A large group of us went to see The Great Gatsby, which was not rated by our male company Laurent and Grégory. My last two Wednesday nights have been spent at the Cité U where ridiculously cheap drinks haul in the student crowd. I also had a night out along the Boulevard de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement which is a pretty cool, alternative area for going out. We were celebrating my polish friend Kinga’s birthday – a pretty fun night. Last Saturday Paulina and I visited Musée Marmotton Monet, which, as well as having a permanent display of some of Monet’s finest works, also currently has a Marie Laurencin exhibition. Whilst I am no massive art expert, I really enjoyed it. I then rushed over to the other side of Paris for a Korean with Guillaume and drinks in a bar along rue Mouffetard. This is a pretty good road for going out with generally more student-friendly prices.
Last Monday Caroline, Cristina, Emma and I were treated to a feast fresh from Martinique thanks to Grégory. For the starter, we all watched in awe (and with mouths watering) as Grégory wipped up some acras de crevettes before serving the main dish dombré de crevettes. A fun, food-filled evening! The gourmandise was not over there for the week however, as I went to Faunchon with some of the girls for a sweet treat and coffee on Saturday afternoon. And la bouffe did not end there, as I then spent the rest of the weekend enjoying home-cooked French food at Guillaume’s parents in Poissy. After all the weekend’s gourmandise its now back to work and the metro-boulot-dodo routine!