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Name:Emma Shaughnessy

Emma Shaughnessy

Class Year:



Washington, D.C.

Global Study Semester:

Fall 2016


IES Paris
Paris, France


Psychology and French Studies

Activities on Campus:

  • Psychology research assistant
  • Sigma Alpha Iota
  • Alpha Phi Omega
  • Women’s Choir
  • Eisenhower Institute’s Inside Civil Rights program

My Story from Global Study:

A cultural difference between France and the U.S. is "la bise" -- the French way of greeting, thanking, and saying goodbye to one another -- in which you touch another person's cheeks with your own and make a sort of kissing sound each time. I never quite got used to this custom, and I found it a bit odd and uncomfortable. At first, I thought that it was just done with friends and family, but at the internship I had during the semester, I quickly realized that it is also done among coworkers and with one's boss. I distinctly remember the funny and embarrassing moment I had when my boss was leaving for the day and was about to try to "faire la bise" with me, and I sort of looked at him and said, "I'm not mentally ready for that yet..." Everyone laughed, and I hope they didn't hold it against me too much, since they knew I'm American, and we don't do that!

My Advice for Future Students:

Go for it! Studying abroad is an incredible experience and an opportunity that you will likely never have again. Even if you are on the fence -- really, even if you are just considering it a little bit -- you can plan your classes as if you were going to study abroad for a semester, you can apply for a study abroad program, and you can withdraw from it if you decide it's not what you want. But in any case, plan ahead. You will not regret studying abroad, but you might regret not.