Summer School Student Ami Clarkson recounts her time with us:
I first found out that I had been accepted into the Paris Summer School as I was queuing to buy my weekly shop, I struggled to contain my excitement as I waited to call my family to let them know that I was going to be spending my summer in Paris. I had always wanted to visit Paris as the romanticism of the city had always drawn me toward it, the relaxed way of life, beautiful architecture and masses of inspired art collections. So, to be accepted in to the summer school was truly a dream come true, the experience allowed me see culture that I had never seen before.
Despite my initial joy, as I arrived in Paris, I was filled with fear. I questioned my own ability to successfully navigate a foreign country, where I had little understanding of the native language and a lack of previous travelling experience. I could not have been more wrong- from the moment I arrived in Paris the local community were immensely helpful and kind, always able to support me when I found myself lost or when trying to find a great restaurant. The fear, was quickly replaced with a sense of liberation and independence, the stay allowed me to gain a confidence that I had previously lacked, and meant that I felt more comfortable conversing with French people in their native language.
Revolutions was the course I attended in Paris, the course material was wide ranging and thought provoking covering different topics each day, allowing me to study topics that I had never researched before- from Picasso to evolution. As a Psychology student, it was interesting to cover the more artistic and humanity based topics that I had previously overlooked. My particular course favourites were Picasso and Evolution, as the evolution topic allowed me to question the human relationship with nature; and the Picasso topic revolutionised my own view of art. I had never before felt a connection with artwork, and had always found myself underwhelmed in art galleries, after attending the Picasso lecture and trip to the Picasso Museum with Peter Reed my opinion was completely changed, the way he spoke so passionately about the pieces made me recognise the value of art and finally make my own connection with artwork. After attending this lecture, I often found myself visiting various art galleries around Paris in my free time and in lecture such as: Centre Pompidou, the Louvre and Musee de Orsay. The scholarship also meant that I was entitled to lunches at different restaurants around Paris, carefully selected by the course organisers, we ate at an amazing variety of restaurants from Creperies to Seafood, all showing an element of French culture and cuisine.
The accommodation we stayed in was also beautiful, the architecture of the building was striking, and had a rooftop garden allowing you to watch the sunset over the Parisian skyline. I would thoroughly recommend purchasing some bread, cheese and wine from a market and dining like a true Parisian whilst the sun sets over the city and the Eiffel tower lights up the night sky. During my stay, I shared my room with another course member, and this was a lovely experience that really allowed me to get to know her and the other members of the course, as we would often meet on the rooftop to talk about the lecture and what other adventures had entailed throughout the day.
Attending the University of Kent summer school in Paris was a truly amazing experience. The course allowed me to broaden both my own knowledge and personal sense of achievement, allowing me to feel more confident in myself and my ability to travel independently. If I had not been offered this Scholarship, I would have been unable to experience Paris as well as I was able to do. Staying in the heart of the city, for the course allowed an incredibly immersive educational experience, that allowed me to see Paris in an intimate light that I would have been unable to do as a tourist alone. I am deeply grateful for the experience I had, and the friendships I gained.