Student Stories

What they brought back from abroad: Part Eight

Our "What They Brought Back" series will look at eight students and the mementos they keep as reminders of the people, places, and experiences from their study abroad programs all over the world. 

Name: Ida Yalzadeh

Class of: 2014

Major: History

Location: Paris, France

Program: European Civilization (in French)

Best part of your trip in 5 words: Small streets with twinkle lights

By enrolling in the Paris Civ program in French, Yalzadeh took on a unique challenge that others may not dare take. "I remember when I went to Paris I was petrified to talk," she said. However, by the end of the program, she and her friends received high praise on their fluency from a French chocolate shop owner with whom they had had an engaging conversation about their backgrounds, the differences between France and the US, and their love for Barcelona. She also experienced the life of les branchées, meaning "branched in" or "trendy," having explored upscale department stores and eaten exquisite meals like Coquilles St. Jacques, a dish featuring scallops and mushrooms. Although it may have been a struggle at first, Yalzadeh is proud to have completed the program in French. "I feel like we've come far in our understanding of French culture and language," she said.

What she brought back:

  • A warm, woolly jacket from a store called Comptoir des Cotonniers in Loire Valley (central France). Yalzadeh avoided buying snacks for six weeks to pay for it. "It kind of reminds me of French people; [they] have a limited wardrobe but it’s all really nice clothes that they accessorize differently," she said.
  • A planner containing a handy copy of the Paris subway map, from a store called Delfonics underneath the Louvre.
  • A 99-centime (approximately $1.30) reusable grocery bag from Grande Epicérie, an upscale market located inside the department store known as Le Bon Marché. The store is largely frequented by bobos, a French term commonly used to describe the unconventional combination of "bourgeois" and "bohemian."
  • A couple of 2-euro Pilot pens. "Bookstores just have a whole wall of pens in different colors. It's beautiful," Yalzadeh said.
  • A flowery thermos from Bonton, the "bobo-est baby store ever." The store even had a rucksack labeled "bobo chose" (translated as "bobo thing"). "My friends and I laughed so hard because they were being reflective on their own bobo-ness. My friend actually wants to stencil it onto a tote bag now," she said.