University of Paris
Aïcha Kaddour is a graduate student from the University of Paris. She is a comparative literature major who is interested in pursuing studies in 19-century English and French language novelists. She is also conducting research on dance as a motif within 19th-century literature.
What made you apply to the Smith AMS program?
I wanted to come and study abroad in the United States, and my French masters adviser recommended that I take a look at Smith and its AMS program. He told me that Smith is a very well-known university, and that it has a lot of resources that would be available for me to use in furthering my masters education.
What courses are you taking and what is your favorite course?
I am taking a course about Shakespeare, one about Jane Austen, a tango class, and our AMS required class. My favorite class is the tango class. Though I cannot really compare it to the other classes since it is not really academic, it's a lot of fun. Plus there is no reading for this class!
What do you like about Smith? What do you dislike about Smith?
First of all I love the fact that you live with a lot of girls and you are able to build a community. They are all very helpful, and are always more than happy to help you. I also like the relationship that you can have with the teachers' here— you can speak with them quite freely and they are always available for you. There is nothing that I dislike about Smith, but it is definitely hard to find some guys here. I mean when you get here first it is like "I am an independent woman, and I don't need a man, " but now I feel "it would be nice to meet some guys sometimes."
What was the most difficult part of your transition?
I am still not totally comfortable with my English. The thing is that sometimes I feel as if I am not the same person when I am speaking French as when I am speaking English. I am shyer when I speak in English than when I speak in French. I never realized how language shapes your personality before I came here. Sometimes I get confused between the languages and use English and French in the same sentence.
What do you miss the most?
I miss my room and feeling comfortable in my own bed. I also miss Paris and seeing my friends.
What advice would you give for students who are going to be studying abroad for the first time?
I think it depends on the person and the country you come from and go to. I also think that it is important to not recreate the same environment that you are used to at home when you go abroad. It's important to stay open-minded and embrace the opportunities presented to you.
What do you see yourself doing in the future and how do you see you experience at Smith helping you?
I am not totally sure what I want to do, but I was a teacher of literature in France before I left, and I think I will continue to teach for a while when I go back. Since I am studying comparative literature here I will probably teach literature in France. This program is a great way for me to improve my English. I think is good for me to show that I went abroad, so that I may be able to teach in countries other than France.
By Varsha Subramaniam '17, Global STRIDE Fellow