Back to SummaryAleema Jamal- Student Advisor Profile
Stanford in Paris, Winter, Spring & Summer 2008-09
Internship: International Chamber of Commerce Independent Study/Directed Reading: Tension between Islam and French Society
ACADEMIC INTERESTS : International Development, Environment
Studying abroad, for me, presented the opportunity to improve my French, a skill that I felt was necessary as a student from Canada. My experience abroad however became much more, enriching to me in ways that I could not have originally imagined before my 8-months in Paris.
While most come to Paris with images of the Eiffel tower, baguettes and cheese, wine, and classical art populating their thoughts, it soon becomes evident that Paris has so much more to offer if one takes the time to discover its secrets.
Paris represents one of the few societies in which its international presence and the forces of globalization have not eroded the distinct cultural identity that has been present for centuries. Whether it was through my first art history class during which we discussed the works of David and Ingres in front of the original paintings in the Louvre, my dance class at the Centre de Danse du Marais, or the various lectures, tours, and exhibitions attended by the Stanford program, I felt the sometimes cryptic French culture open up to me.
While Stanford’s programs enriched me academically and culturally, some of my most memorable moments come from the close relationships that I developed with the French students at our host school, the late night conversations in which we were able to engage, and the “real Paris” to which they were able to expose us to. Realizing and embracing the spontaneity that living in a city such
as Paris provides, left the door open to unique experiences such as singing in front of a crowd with the metro musicians that we later befriended, salsa dancing in the open air along the Seine, watching the Eiffel tower sparkle while riding the metro, and traveling to our host family’s country “castle” to spend the weekend.
While the majority of my interactions were with French students, my internship during spring quarter and summer helped me develop both personally and professionally. Not only did I become a part of the French work culture, but at the same time, was introduced to other interns my age from around the world, some of whom, I am fortunate to say, have become my closest friends.
I can, without a doubt, say that I have been changed as a result of my time in Paris. Not only did it give me the opportunity to understand a new way of life, culturally context, travel, eat delicious food, and improve my French, I have been fortunate to establish some of my most meaningful relationships with students from all around the world. I am confident that my studies or work will bring me back to France in the near future, and I’m looking forward to embracing it with open arms!