An Interview with AMS student Chloé Pulice, of the University of Paris

Chloé Pulice, an exchange student from the University of Paris VII, Denis Diderot, is studying international relations and politics at Smith this year through the American Studies Diploma Program.

Before coming to Smith, Chloé had already experienced a truly global education. She was born and raised in a multicultural family in a neighborhood outside of Paris, and commuted to university in Paris. Chloé has also spent time studying in Malta, where she learned English in only one semester, and had an extremely different student experience.

Chloé Pulice GR, American Studies Diploma program

Chloé Pulice GR, American Studies Diploma program

She remembers her time at Paris VII for its lack of student community, the long commute, and her fatigue. Commuting to and from school took too much time for her to have a student life—a common circumstance at many French universities, where campuses are sparse, and student-teacher relationships are minimal.

Reflecting on her experiences in various university systems, Chloé highlighted the vast differences between France and the Maltese and American schools. For example, in France, there is a definite hierarchical barrier between faculty and students, but at Smith and in Malta, students are treated more as the equals of their professors.

In France, she explained, if she asked a professor for help, they might contact an assistant and deal with the question without input from the student. In contrast, in America and Malta, a professor advises students on whom to contact, and guides them further to find the information themselves. Chloé initially wanted to study in Lebanon, but when the opportunity to study at Smith arose, she was excited. She believes that there are more opportunities here for her than in other countries.

The differences between studying in the U.S. or elsewhere are not only academic, Chloé explained. Relationships between people in the U.S. are unlike those in France. While people in the States are outwardly friendlier, they are less likely to form deep relationships. In France, it is the opposite. People won’t be friendly unless they want to create a close friendship. This doesn’t faze Chloé, who is extremely social.

She enjoys the opportunities to meet new people at the many parties and live music clubs in the area. “People are very open-minded here,” she said, something she loves that about Smith.

As someone who has been studying abroad for years, Chloé has a lot of advice for students looking to study in a foreign country. Never be afraid of differences, she advises, and always make contacts wherever you go.

“Any place can be beautiful if you are happy,” she says. For Chloé, that means having a good support network of friends, opportunities to find good work, and having time to focus on herself.