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.

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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