This semester, senior Patience Sakeuh has traded the cornfields of Indiana for French pastries, museum tours and flea markets.
That’s right. Sakeuh, a global studies major, has been studying abroad in Paris, France!
To say she has fallen in love with the city would be an understatement.
“I think having a cultural exchange moment — short-term or long-term integration — is so important in the growth that a person has to experience,” Sakeuh said. “It gives new perspectives to life and pushes you outside of yourself to learn, grow and care about the way that other people live, learn and so much more.”
As a global studies major, studying abroad for a semester is in her degree requirements.
Having never previously traveled outside of the United States, she was excited about the opportunity to experience someplace new.
“In my heart, Paris was always the first place I wanted to go,” Sakeuh said.
Unfortunately, Taylor does not offer a Paris semester abroad opportunity — so she decided to go to Lithuania instead since it was a Taylor-run program.
Despite having made her decision, Sakeuh did not feel peace about it.
“Then the option of going to Paris through Asbury University fell into my lap, and I couldn’t resist!” Sakeuh said. “My heart was ecstatic, and I felt so much peace that I had to try and make it into the program.”
She proceeded to spend the next month scrambling to get into the program, which was quite a stressful experience for her.
Fortunately, Sakeuh feels as though the stressful application process was totally worth it.
“Now, here I am in Paris living my dreams, and I couldn’t be happier about my decision!” Sakeuh said.
A typical day for Sakeuh consists of going wherever the wind takes her.
Her schedule has changed twice due to class situations, but generally, she wakes up at 9 a.m. to eat breakfast and explore the city. After eating lunch, she attends French class from 1 to 5 p.m. Then, she wanders, explores and takes in the city some more.
“I try to be equally spontaneous and scheduled but spontaneity normally is the route I take,” Sakeuh said.
Her weekends are often spent waking up early, touring museums, thrifting and exploring local flea markets.
She is taking 13 credit hours consisting of history of the French church, French language and fitness courses, along with an internship.
While in Paris, Sakeuh lives in a small dormitory with a roommate.
“The rooms are rather small, like smaller than our Taylor dorm rooms with a bunk bed, two desks, two wardrobes, two under-bed storage areas, a sink, a three-level wall cabinet and a balcony door style window,” Sakeuh said.
The most challenging aspect of her experience has been the language barrier.
She did not expect communication to be as big of a challenge as it has been.
“I think communication has been the most challenging thing because it has stifled my personality in a way because I can’t just speak to anyone or make friends because the probability of people knowing English is mediocre, and therefore, such a toss-up,” Sakeuh said. “This means I've had to be very introverted when I’m out in public, which is normally the sphere where I am the most extroverted.”
Despite this challenge, Sakeuh feels she’s never loved a place as much as she loves Paris.
Her experience in Paris has surpassed all her expectations, and she couldn’t be more happy about the opportunity to spend her semester there.
“The city is beautiful, the people are so much kinder than Americans give them credit for, the food is delicious, it is so diverse and colorful, and ultimately, it (is) such a peaceful place to be, even if it's in the city!” Sakeuh said.
Because her experience has been so positive, Sakeuh is now considering moving back to Paris in her post-graduation plans.
She highly recommends this experience to other Taylor students and is open and willing to speak with those who are interested in studying abroad in Paris.
“If you genuinely want to know more about my semester and experience, please find me, and let's have some tea and chat about it!” Sakeuh said.