Wonderful Surprises

My first 1.5 week in Paris have been a journey of surprises along with wonderful opportunities to learn. I have seen, listened and learned so much already that I almost can’t describe to you how excited I am right now!

My host family is fantastic. I am living with a Spanish professor and her son. The apartment is small but all the decorations are cute. Everyday we talk about my work, what I have been sightseeing, my encounters with people, and any interpretations of cultural differences. I especially enjoy telling her about life in US or back home in China and how those experiences are totally different from what we have here! I even made Chinese food for my host family one time:)

Regarding work, I intern at a therapeutic center that works on suicide prevention. It is very related to what I study in psychology and I appreciate this opportunity to closely observe how public agencies like this in France are operated. I began my internship by meeting with one of the clinicians, and I was given a bunch of documents to read about the history of the agency, the structure, the basics of psychiatric interview, the statistics and prevention strategies on suicide, and services provided at the center. The afternoon, I attended the staff meeting. I was a little bit frustrated because everyone talked so fast and I couldn’t understand the main ideas at all! But I told myself that I would soon get used to this. Later, the next day, I went with my supervisor to a meeting with another non profit on how to train professionals in the field on the problem of “radicalisation” of adolescents. I soon discovered that by reading some relevant documents and understanding professional vocabularies ahead, I was able to quickly get into the discussion! Another aspect that I loved about my internship is that we have a lot of workshops such as music therapy and art therapy provided for clients. I participated in the music therapy session this week, and it was awesome to sing french songs in an open and relaxed setting with the clients. The workshops were served to enhance people’s emotions and therefore improve their emotional processing and psychological wellbeing. I haven’t studied a lot about the basics of music and art therapies before, but I am starting to explore them.

Last but not the least, Paris is absolutely a city to walk around and explore! I have been to the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame in the past week and these landmarks were stunning! Moreover, I was (almost) mesmerized by the beauty of the museums I have been (the musée de Rodin and the musée de moyen âgés) and the variety of collections. Even when just walking around in the Latin Quarter or sitting at a restaurant enjoying Canard au Conflit, you can truly sense how Parisiens enjoy their lives!

To be continued…

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