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Andrea Bouchaud

Book Interview: Twenty in Paris

Andrea Bouchaud author of Twenty in Paris
Andrea Bouchaud author of Twenty in Paris

Interview with Andrea Bouchaud about Twenty in Paris

Welcome, Andrea Bouchaud author of Twenty Something in Paris, an E-book guide and memoir rolled into one about moving to Paris, studying in France and more. I will let Andrea tell you more about here interesting memoir style guide.

Charles Author’s Promoter:

Hi Andrea, welcome, can you tell our readers a little about the guide?

Andrea Bouchaud:

Hi Everyone! Actually it’s Twenty in Paris but that’s ok 🙂
Sure thing! Twenty in Paris is a memoir style narrative about the experience of studying abroad in Paris from start to finish
I cover everything from how to find a program and housing option best for you, how to obtain a French visa on the 1st attempt, what it is like to go a new school system in a new language with new culture
All at the same time!

Charles Author’s Promoter:

Excellent, I apologize for renaming your book for you. 🙂 You handled me gently and from what I understand your friendly personality comes across in your writing. Is the book written in a heavy professional way or is it written in friendly spoken English?

Andrea Bouchaud:

It is written in friendly spoken English without any prepositions ending a sentence
There is also lots of French sprinkled throughout the book

Charles Author’s Promoter:

That should make for a very entertaining read, we might just feel like we stole your diary then. Now, I know you talk all about it in your book; however, I wanted to hear it directly from you. What can you tell me about living Paris?

Andrea Bouchaud:

Twenty in Paris by Andrea Bouchaud
Twenty in Paris by Andrea Bouchaud

Paris is a great city- it really is but it can be tough to become a Parisian especially if you look different

When i was 20, I had a punky, retro gothi-ish look. Think Dita von Teese from the neck up and Marilyn Manson from the neck down- the Parisians did not know what to do with me and treated me like an alien the first semester

Also, France is not as welcoming of foreigners as the US is and it is a weird feeling to be treated like that when you are not used to it. Just think of it like this- I looked different, I talked with an accent and I acted differetly than them

Charles Author’s Promoter:

From what I understand though eventually you integrated. How did that feel?

Andrea Bouchaud:

It was great! when I finally got to the moment when I knew the city, I could commiunicate effectively and run trips to the pharmacy for my great-aunt all alone with no issues and understand it was amazing and it was about 4 months in- the last month of the first semester abroad and it only got better from there as the 2nd semester started and I was like a seasoned vet

Charles Author’s Promoter:

In your book you also cover the paperwork needed and the red tape so to speak. Would you care to give us a quick run through of that?

Andrea Bouchaud:

Bien sur! French bureaucracy LOVES paperwork so much so that if it is not perfect the first time, you do not get the legal document you need
I cover all the documents needed and how many of each one for the French visa and also what to expect for the carte de séjour which is a residency visa the visa is all paperwork whereas the residency card is a medical visit that you do at the immigration office

Charles Author’s Promoter:

Great so we will have a nice little walkthrough for that then. Beautiful Paris. So far we might be getting a dark picture of Paris, France. Breaucracy, unwelcoming and well a bit of a challenge. Now tell us about the fun stuff. What is life in Paris like?

Andrea Bouchaud:

Well it is important to know that there IS a dark side of Paris and studying abroad. It is not all croissants and visiting the Eiffel Tower. This is also why I had a hard time adapting- I expected only the good and not the hard stuff but to answer your question…Paris is its best in the spring. The gardens, which there are many, are alive and blooming. The cream colored buildings glow with the sunlight, the blue rooftops blend into the oh so blue sky and you just walk for hours taking in the sights, smells and sounds

Springtime in Paris is magical 🙂

Charles Author’s Promoter:

Do we get to see this side of Paris in the memoir?

Andrea Bouchaud:

Sure do! But I take you oin my journey of an academic year so that means we start in the fall/ winter and the spring comes around but not until the second half of the book

Charles Author’s Promoter:

So first you scare us off a little? Then you show us why it was worth the struggle?

Andrea Bouchaud:

You got it!

Studying abroad is great but it is a challenge and my mission is to showcase the entire experience. What I don’t know is how the students who only go for 1 semester do it

Charles Author’s Promoter:

I would believe that knowing there is a close expiration date might make things progress differently.

Andrea Bouchaud:

perhaps
I also did not come home during that entire time so it -boom! ten months away from your loved ones and culture

Charles Author’s Promoter:

Andrea, were you enrolled in a French or American school during your stay in Paris.

Andrea Bouchaud:

This is a good question
The answer is that I was enrolled in a French university through an American program
that means that I was not directly enrolled in the French University which exempted me from taking the major test at the end of the semester which counts for 85% of the grade- thank God!
also, I did not have to participate in any oral assigments. Just understand that foreign students can enroll directly into a French school
the majority of American students will do the American program thing

Charles Author’s Promoter:

Ok, so there would be three main options?

Andrea Bouchaud:

it’s two- sorry for the confusion! there is direct enrollment into a French university as a foreign student and there is enrollment via a study abroad program which acts as a liason between the student and the French school

Charles Author’s Promoter:

Would a student not also be able to enroll in an American University in Paris?

Andrea Bouchaud:

hmmm
most of the universities in France/Paris are French and are funded by French taxes. For the American University of Paris- I am not sure how that works
But for example there is no French equivalent for the American college so that is why partnerships with a French university are formed. For example there is no Harvard- Paris campus

Charles Author’s Promoter:

Had to ask, as I imagine that whilst not providing someone with the “real” French experience might make things easier for them, help from other Americans etc.

Andrea Bouchaud:

Students are able to sign up for a program with English classes and my program had a few classes that I took with other Americans but students need to remember that they are only in class for a few hours a day and than are in Paris the rest

you cannot avoid the transition process and I am not sure why they would want to- it is part of the journey

Charles Author’s Promoter:

You make a very valid point. One, I think readers considering a study abroad program should consider regardless of where they intend on studying.

Andrea Bouchaud:

thank you! Twenty in Paris does mostly focus on the experience of studying in a French university where the classes are in French but the experience aspect can be used for all situdy abroad situatiions

Charles Author’s Promoter:

If I was simply visiting Paris for a few weeks, would this be a useful guide?

Andrea Bouchaud:

You would want to skip over the first half and jump right to the second but it would be useful to tourists going for a few weeks because I give you hands on knowledge about French culture

also the last section of the book discusses fun facts about Paris life/ culture/politics that are useful to each and every stay

Charles Author’s Promoter:

Excellent so we get a little taste of everything Paris.

Author’s Promoter:

Now that you are back on the other side of the great pond, what is Andrea Bouchaud up to?

Andrea Bouchaud:

I am working for a French company which is good because I get to use my major
I also write blogs/articles on the topics of French language, culture and studying abroad
When I’m not working or writing, I play darts with French friends and do a language exchange every weekend as well as read 🙂

Charles Author’s Promoter:

So we can get even more insight into Paris, French and all things life?

Andrea Bouchaud:

all Paris, all the time 😛
I love writing about things that are not well known and have to be discovered
for example on studentuniverse.com I wrote a blog/article on that the old apartment buildings in Paris do not have fire escapes and that the French do not eat popcorn at the movies

Charles Author’s Promoter:

So you also act as a myth buster?

Andrea Bouchaud:

I like that!
I thought I had somethng witty to say to that and I don’t 😛
Maybe instead of myth buster I am Fact Finder

Charles Author’s Promoter:

It has been lovely getting to know a little more about you and your book Andrea, for the benefit of our readers I would like to ask. Where else can we find you? You mentioned studentuniverse.com

Andrea Bouchaud:

thestudyabroadguide.com – that is where I contribute to the Paris Destination Guide, thestudyabroadblog.com is a recent guest post on transitioning to life abroad. Always awesome if you check out my own personal blog at twentyinparis.tumblr.com or at twitter:

I also wrote a story for the Philadelphia Inquirer in the Personal Journey section to be released tomorrow- go ahead and take a read 🙂

Charles Author’s Promoter:

Excellent so readers can also dip their toes in to getting to know a little more about you in those great places and ultimately if they want to know more about an American’s life in Paris they really need to go ahead and buy your interesting memoir style guide.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to provide us with all this awesome information and writing your book: Twenty in Paris. (Got it right this time!)

Andrea Bouchaud:

Thank you Charles and your readers for having me. It was a pleasure

 

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