Huntsman '20 Piril Ozilhan

SA: Columbia in Paris at Reid Hall

Program Abroad:

  • Semester Abroad (SA): Columbia in Paris at Reid Hall, France

Ask me about...

  • How fundamental the French language and culture were to my abroad experience. Paris is an immersive city, as one has to adapt to its idiosyncratic lifestyle that is like no other.

  • Practicing French and communicating with locals. There are many opportunities to practice French; however, impeccable French is required to communicate with its people. 

  • Academics at Reid Hall. The education at Reid Hall was exceedingly helpful in preparing its students. The classes were all in French, and they were quite advanced, but the professors in the program were genuine and accommodating, helping their students with every concern. It was an amazing program overall.

My Experience Abroad:

As a student in the Huntsman Program, my coursework has been focused on ameliorating my French, as I am a French & Francophone Studies minor. As rewarding as it was, moving to Paris and living there for five months made a phenomenal difference in mastering the language. Returning from abroad, I finally felt confident about my French and found myself practicing with anyone who speaks it. The courses at Reid Hall also correlated with another minor that I am pursuing, Art History. It was an incredible experience to be visiting Modern and Contemporary Art museums and learning the history of French artists in the heart of France, Paris, while I was taking a course on Contemporary Art at Reid Hall. I am truly grateful for the cultural immersion and exposure, both in and out of the classroom setting.

Other Highlights:

  • A moment I will never forget was when Stefi, Juliette, and our friend Quentin were at a French restaurant and a man who was working there came up and handed me a straw, telling me to use it as a microphone. Then, he passed me his phone which had the lyrics of the song “Shallow” on it, brought his speaker and started blasting it. I ended up singing an impromptu duet with him and laughed along the way.

  • One day, my best friend Pily took us to a Paris Fashion Week runway show at the Ritz, and it was lovely. A couple of friends and I left class dressed in formal attire and took a metro to La Concorde, walking in excitement. It was a sunny day in Paris and it was a wholesome afternoon with my best friends. 

  • Another highlight was when me, Cami, and our friend Alex strolled around, bought snacks and drinks, and spent hours on the grass, sunbathing and taking in Paris. It was one of our final days, and we were reflecting on how much had happened, and how quickly it had passed. 

  • The last highlight that I cherish was when Michelle, Cami and I visited Angelina, one of the most iconic tea places in Paris, and we laughed and chatted for hours. Afterward, we strolled around the Eiffel Tour, took photos, met fellow Americans on our walk and spoke to them about our experience in Paris. 

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