La Belle Vie en France

Of all the perks to being a foreign student studying in Paris — beautiful city, countless historic venues, great diversity, generous government aid — Taylor Smith (’13) says her favorite is free access to all the museums.

So how many times has she visited The Louvre?

“I can’t even count,” Smith says with a laugh. “Three times a week sometimes. You need at least a few months just to explore it and take it all in.”

Smith, the daughter of Campbell University communications studies professor and department chair Michael Smith, spent six months earning credits toward her degree in French in the best place possible last fall. She returns to Paris this summer to begin work toward earning her master’s degree.

She’ll spend the next year attending Paris-Sarbonne University and working as an English language teaching assistant at two primary schools, thanks to a work program offered by the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., where she spent time as an intern before her first trip to France in 2012.

Taylor says she loves France and has developed a passion for the language and the culture there, but what she really loves about the country is its diversity.

“It’s a city where so many people from different parts of the world come together,” she says. “The students are so diverse, and the country is so accommodating to young people. When people think of France, they think of its history and traditional aspects, but the diversity is something you don’t expect. It was a great surprise to me.”

Taylor has six months in France, an internship at the Embassy and a degree in French under her belt … but she hesitates to say she’s “fluent” in the language, even now.

“The more you learn, the more you realize you still don’t know,” she says. “I’m comfortable [speaking French], and part of your master’s degree is doing an interview in French. … I loved Campbell because the classes were small, fun and challenging. But I always knew the best way to learn a language was to go to that country and learn it from native speakers. And I’ve loved this entire experience.”