Ashley in Paris

Ashley, a member of the University Honors Program and a senior majoring in art history, was awarded a Richter International Fellowship to conduct independent, graduate-level research this summer in Paris, where she plans to examine primary documents and pieces of chinoiserie at the major libraries and museums. Chinoiserie was an 18th-century movement in Europe characterized by the production of goods that portrayed China as an idyllic utopia, with plump pagodes, mystic sages and enlightened philosophers.

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The adventure is about to begin

I have spent the last couple of weeks preparing for my departure and spending some quality time with my parents in Georgia. I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. I leave for Paris this coming Saturday! I am so unbelievably excited about this opportunity, but I am extremely nervous as well.

Seeing as I would like to pursue a career in art history, this trip is a great way to test the waters. And it is definitely sink or swim. Being an art historian means a lot of research, consistently working with foreign languages, and the opportunity to travel internationally. I will get a healthy dose of all those aspects on this trip.

Most, if not all, of the documents I will examine will be in French. Luckily, the SMU foreign language department has sufficiently prepared me for this task. Also, my professors and mentors have been indispensable in this process: writing letters of introduction, constantly encouraging me, offering guidance, and calming my many apprehensions. Without them, and the countless resources available through SMU, this project would not have been possible.

I did not mean for this to evoke an Academy Awards speech, but I will quickly add a few more thanks and recognitions to some very deserving people in my life. My parents have consistently supported and encouraged me in all of my endeavors, however large or small. … Lastly, I cannot forget my friends, who have been right there with me and seen it all. ….

With that, like I said, I am so excited about this experience. I know that it is going to be a period of substantial growth for me personally and academically.

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