From Boston to Paris
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From Boston to Paris

From Boston to Paris

Greetings from Paris!

My name is Emma Pendl-Robinson and this spring, I am studying abroad at Sciences Po in Paris, France.

I am originally from Branford, Connecticut. Home is about three hours south of Boston; think iconic small New England town and that’s me. Branford was even used as the setting of a Hallmark movie!

I am a third-year Political Sciences and Economics major student at Northeastern University. By studying institutions (e.g. government and financial institutions), I hope to gain a better understanding of the forces which help shape the world in which we live. I am an avid reader and typically have my head stuck in a book pertaining to sociology or finance. I care deeply about those who are neglected within the current system and want to help better their position. I believe that the best way to help vulnerable and disenfranchised populations is through systemic change at a macro-level.

My dream job is to work in research at a think tank where I help research policy solutions. Most of my experience is centered around housing policy, immigrants’ rights, and financial security. In the future, I would like to do more work surrounding data analysis and central banking. I believe policy ought to be data-driven to obtain any validly. As a policymaker, I want to understand the underlying data behind an academic paper as well as cull my own data. Also, I would like to gain a better understanding of central banking. The United States Federal Reserve Chairman is arguably the most powerful person in the world since he or she can heat or cool the US economy, the largest economy in the world. Naturally, I hope for my next co-op/internship to be working data analytics or for the Boston Federal Reserve.

I chose Sciences Po because of its location and its Social Science program. I am interested to learn the French perspective on current economic issues such as central banking, trade, urbanization and political issues such as the role of protest and revolution in a society. Whereas I am primarily interested in United States policy, I believe studying abroad will provide me with the most holistic view of current issues. I believe Europe offers the best comparative when studying the United States given the locations shared history. However, there are sticking differences between the United States and Europe such as the impact of the two world wars and the presences of the European Union.

I am interested in learning more about the history and the future of Sciences Po. Due to its selectivity, ranking, and alumni network, Sciences Po is seen as an elite university (in France and internationally). For example, seven of the last eight French presidents attended Science Po. There are questions surrounding Sciences Po’s present value and if it is being propped up by its name more than its academics. While in the country I hope to learn more about Science Po’s past and the current struggles of the university compared to Northeastern University, a rising school. Some of my questions: “Are college ranking systems falling out of favor due to schools’ ability to ‘game the system’ and schools’ legacy which allow some schools to rank higher than others?” and “Is there tangible value for students if there are notable alumni?”.

Moreover, I am excited to studying abroad. From the age of two, I was off running and traveling internationally. My parents instilled in my sister and me a love for travel and a spirit of adventure. I love going to new countries and being immersed in the culture and learning what day to day life is like in different parts of the world. For me, travel is less about the tourist attractions and more about the people. Traveling is not about relaxing but learning and experiences. Once my family and I stayed at a resort in Jamaica, while it was sitting on the beach was nice for a day or so, I was more interested in life outside of the resort.

My first experience with studying abroad was through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLIY); a merit-based scholarship program run through the United States Department of State provides funds for high school students to study languages not typically taught in American schools. I highly recommend the program to anyone looking to studying abroad. Through NSLIY, I spent the summer of 2013 in Izmir, Turkey where I lived with a host family and took intensive Turkish classes. It was incredible, to say the least. My host family was extremely kind and I picked up a year’s worth of Turkish in six weeks. Being selected for such a competitive scholarship and completing my first studying abroad program at the age of sixteen, gave to the confidence that I could take on any challenge.

Now I am looking forward to embarking on my next study abroad experience.

I would like to see more of Europe. I jest that I have seen the two extremes of Europe, the far east (Istanbul) and the far west (Galway). Now I just need to see in the middle. In high school, I took two college-level Western Civilization courses which I loved. European history is much older than the United States and so has a richer history. I am particularly interested in France is a historic hub of western culture and thought. By better understanding France’s struggle with civil liberties and civil rights, I can better understand the civil rights movement of the United States. Also, I hope to better understand the history behind stereotypes of France and the French such as: "Why is Paris considered the city of love?", "Why do foreigners hold the French culture and language in such high esteem?", "Why do the French like bread so much?", etc.

In Paris, I am living with a host family and am living, I hope to practice and bolster my French speaking and listening ability. In middle and high school, I took French language classes. To be honest, I am not very good at French and have not kept up with the language. My reading and writing skills are okay (with the occasional help of a dictionary) but my listening and speaking skills have degraded drastically. I really like the Lagrange and I hope to improve over the five months I am in France.

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