Robyn Greene knew she was signing up for an eye-opening experience when she left her hometown of Chattanooga, Tenn. this summer to spend four weeks studying in Paris, France. She returned home at the end of the summer very intrigued by the experience- in more ways than one.
Greene had been studying French in school for seven consecutive years, and figured it was about time to put her language skills to the ultimate test. “I’d always wanted to go to France in high school, but decided I’d wait until college when I could get credit for it.” And to avoid missing out on a semester here at Auburn, she knew the summer program was a perfect fit.
The beginning of Greene’s adventure in Paris was tainted when her luggage was lost during the trip there, and wasn’t returned to her for an entire week. “I tried really hard not to let it distract me from everything that I was there for in the first place,” she remembered.
Whether she had her luggage with her or not, there were definitely plenty of new and interesting ideas in France to keep Greene distracted.
According to Greene, the au naturale way of the French was very backwards in comparison to American conversational etiquette- people had no problem asking questions and talking all about sex, but then no one dared ever speak about money or the cost of things.
Also, Americans tend to have the image stuck in our heads that the French are so natural that their personal hygiene is questionable. This is in fact a myth, but Greene was interested nonetheless to learn that most women hardly wore makeup, showers were never in the same room as the toilet, and people NEVER spoke about them needing to use the “bathroom.”
Greene returned back to the United States with an interesting new perspective on an alternative way of life.
“It was my first time out of the country, and all in all it made me very aware of the dynamics of a culture apart from my own and that the United States is still very close minded in many ways,” she concludes.