Yvonne in Paris

Yvonne is a senior majoring in psychology and sociology in Dedman College. During summer 2011, she is studying Parisian culture and monarchy, as well as European relations with the Middle East, as part of SMU-in-Paris.

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Bringing history to life

I wanted to discuss the academic side of my study abroad program at a greater length. It is not wise to go into any SMU summer study abroad program with the expectation of taking “blow-off” courses. The courses are definitely challenging; the rigor is equivalent to that of courses taken during a regular semester. We still have reading assignments, quizzes, essays, and finals just as we would during the school year.

Because we have Fridays off (yay for three-day weekends!), there’s a bit more material and assignments compacted within our four-day week. This is not to imply or suggest that our classes are unbearably difficult, but you do have to put in work and effort.

With that being said, the classes are incredibly interesting and our professors are wonderful! I am not a history buff by any means, but somehow our professors have found a way to make history interesting and engaging. What I most appreciate about our classes is that we are not always stuck in a classroom every day; we’re able to visit the places which we’re discussing.

For instance, this morning we had one of our classes in The Louvre. We learned about European impressions of Eastern civilizations by studying Orientalist paintings and artwork in the Louvre. It was much more meaningful to actually see the paintings in person, rather than looking at them in a textbook. The professors almost literally bring history to life, and we are really able to personally engage in everything that we’re learning.

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