Senior Says Salut

Je m'appelle Loraine, comme la quiche.
I'm just another American college student trying to balance work, school, extra-curriculars, and a relationship.
I just happen to be doing all of that in another country!

Three years ago, I decided to become a Freshman in France at the American University of Paris.
Over time, my adventures continued as a Sophomore along la Seine,
then as a Junior on the Jump (studying abroad at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon!)
But now I'm back in Paris and I'm getting ready to graduate...
Oui. It's finally time that this Senior Says Salut.
  • The War On French Food

    This post is for an assignment for my Media and War class. 

    After leaving in France for three years, I can safely say that I had never before encountered such a nationalistic group of people. They are proud of their food. They are proud of their language. They are proud of anything related to their roots – or as the French broadly describe it – their terroir. While most countries around the world appear to be embracing globalization, the French are staunchly against their beloved homeland being molested by foreign products or ideas. But while one cannot stop the world from changing, one man can stop the construction of a McDonalds in the countryside of France.

     In the BBC News article, “France’s farm crusader” by Justin Pearce, we meet José Bové – a bushy faced farmer who is immediately described as “a peasant Robin Hood” for his work as the underdog against a big, bad American fast food corporation. In 2000, Bové was caught attacking the site building site of a new McDonald’s in the Tarn valley of southern France. Although the destruction was not all too serious, it was the media’s reaction his actions that created the most fire. Bové became an international figure, often referred as a modern day Asterix for his spunky French spirit and his rather prominent handlebar mustache.

    His story struck such a large chord because it was around that time when globalization truly started becoming relevant topic for companies and governments around the world. The real enemy was the United States, which had long ago begun to infiltrate foreign countries through Hollywood films and shows. For me, personally, it was interesting to read this article from over a decade past and compare it to the France I see today. In discussing the topic with a French friend of mine (over a dinner of MacDo, no less!), he nodded solemnly and proceeded to list out all the American series he had ever seen – beginning in the ‘80s with Little House on the Prairie and Dallas (to which he even hummed the theme song to).  In all honesty, I had ever even heard of the show Dallas until last year when I took a course on Media Globalization here at AUP. However, according to my professor who hails from South-Korea, the show was an American phenomenon that had people around the world glued to their TV screens.

    Although English is increasingly becoming the “world’s language,” France sees otherwise and continually seeks to protect their own beloved language from outside influence. This refers back to the idea of “terroir,” which is a term that is incredibly difficult to define outside of a French context. In the article, the author explains why American-style fast food is such a threat in France while it is somewhat more readily embraced in other countries.

    "Eating is not a neutral act," he [Bové] told reporters - a remark which embodies a uniquely French take on philosophy and food.

    Whether looked at in relation to geography, soil or locality, terroir is a vital keyword in the study of food, especially in France, where much of the nation’s ideology is firmly rooted in the image of a farmer. Terroir describes the sensory evidence of the plants, animals, and region from which they are produced. Since such traces transcend our most obvious means of perceiving food through taste, in France, terroir encompasses a cultural knowledge that is passed down through generations

    Essentially, this is why Bové’s fight attracted such media attention. Asterix, or Vercingetorix (whom the cartoon was actually based upon), was famous for his loyalty in defending his country against imperialistic invaders. While Bové’s protest was not violent, it appeared to be more of a war of ideology and how one country should combat foreign interests in order to preserve a type of self-dignity.

     (Post 1 - 635 words)

  • Americans Studying in US vs Paris

    This is a video of an interview I had with a student broadcast journalist named Virgilia Hess.

    Despite studying at Brooklyn College in New York, Hess, herself is a French national with bilingual capabilities. In April, she went back to her homeland to sit down with four AUP Americans studying long-term in Paris and to discuss the differences between French and American: academics, food, fashion, and nightlife.

    As a current, part-time student at l’Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), I was able to provide a brief glimpse of my experience there. But more importantly.. I was quoted about food. Surprise, surprise!

  • The intimidating reason why I disabled the “Ask Me Anything!” button for a year.
.. And of course, within 30 minutes of turning it back on - I get a question that I’ve pretty much already answered before. So anyone who does ask me something, please do me a favor and look through my blog first. I know it’s a lot of pages, but I go in-depth for a reason. Also, please ask me something that can’t be easily answered through Google.

    The intimidating reason why I disabled the “Ask Me Anything!” button for a year.

    .. And of course, within 30 minutes of turning it back on - I get a question that I’ve pretty much already answered before. So anyone who does ask me something, please do me a favor and look through my blog first. I know it’s a lot of pages, but I go in-depth for a reason. Also, please ask me something that can’t be easily answered through Google.

  • Q: If you are from Claremont, why didn't you apply to Claremont Mckenna, Pitzer, Scripps or Harvey Mudd? It's just so confusing. You could have taken French and a year abroad at AUP or something. AUP really seemed appealing to me but when I got accepted and received financial aid package which only covered half of the costs, I was like WHAT. What am I doing. Paying so much for education and place which isn't even ranked high. Maybe it's a great experience but I'd go to US college anyways.


    A:

    I did apply to Scripps, but I was rejected. Plain and simple, mais c’est la vie. I still remember the rejection letter they sent me - it went along the lines of: “Just because you were’t accepted here doesn’t mean you won’t go on to do great things elsewhere.”

    I could have done a lot of things differently, but I decided to go to AUP. Living in France for the past three years has been undeniably expensive; however, in my eyes, it’s a small price to pay for the knowledge, connections, and experience that I’ve gained along the way.

    We all have different decisions in life and no decision is ever bad unless you don’t learn from it. AUP may not be the most renowned university, but rankings and GPA aren’t always everything. It’s the connections that you make and what you make of your education that counts the most.

    On Traveling Alone

    Studying Abroad in Paris vs Living Abroad in Paris

  • Loraine in Lebanon: An American abroad in #Beirut looking #forward to #FourMoreYears with @BarackObama! <3  (at American University of Beirut (AUB))

    Loraine in Lebanon: An American abroad in #Beirut looking #forward to #FourMoreYears with @BarackObama! <3 (at American University of Beirut (AUB))

  • AHHH, THIS IS THE BOSQUET GRAND SALON. I&#8217;ve had a class in here almost every semester for two years! #AUPREPRESENT &lt;3
newsweek-paris-france:

Many are the students who have contemplated this sleeping bard … Detail from the ceiling of the main meeting room at the American University of Paris, where we heard a talk last night by Marwan Bishara. The former AUP professor is now the senior political analyst for Al Jazeera English and author of The Invisible Arab: The Promise and Peril of the Arab Revolutions.

    AHHH, THIS IS THE BOSQUET GRAND SALON. I’ve had a class in here almost every semester for two years! #AUPREPRESENT <3

    newsweek-paris-france:

    Many are the students who have contemplated this sleeping bard … Detail from the ceiling of the main meeting room at the American University of Paris, where we heard a talk last night by Marwan Bishara. The former AUP professor is now the senior political analyst for Al Jazeera English and author of The Invisible Arab: The Promise and Peril of the Arab Revolutions.

  • Streaming killed the Television Ad.

    This is the final stretch! 4 out of 6 posts for my Internet & Globalization class.

    A big dilemma for American college students is trying to keep up with their favorite television shows. It’s hard to watch TV when there’s not one to be found anywhere near them. Sure, the lucky college student may find a television in their dorm hall lounge, but good luck fighting over it. So what’s the solution here? Streaming, baby!

    Streaming media is a way to watch a video or listen to a song in ‘real time’ without downloading it to your computer or storing it to your hard drive. Streaming is a relatively recent development, because your broadband connection has to run fast enough to show the data in real time. Files encoded for streaming are often highly compressed to use as little bandwidth as possible. This is the beloved answer for those who may not have a television set but do have a laptop and access to WIFI. However, this is the true nightmare for the media industry.

    Brian Stelter discusses this phenomenon in the New York Times article, “Youths Are Watching, but Less Often on TV.” It is argued that the young are still watching shows for hours on end each day, but they’re not necessarily doing it on the television. How exactly is it that the TV shows we watch are free? Let’s be real here – nothing is ever free. When we are watching shows on the TV, we as the consumer are being purchased at the same time. Companies will pay television networks the big bucks to insert their commercial here or place their product there. Stelter theorizes, “The long-term implications for the media industry are huge, possibly causing billions of dollars in annual advertising spending to shift away from old-fashioned TV.”

    Some advertisement industries are trying to cope by making the transition into digital and online video. Even now, every Youtuber must sit through a few seconds of obligatory advertisements before they can watch their video. But is it working? I, for one, am always most eager to mute a particularly long video commercial or “X-out” from a pop-up as soon as possible. On the other hand, I understand that it is my participation with the advertisements and my possible related consumerism that allows for the production of my favorite shows. However, this is really a Catch-22 because while I would try to at least tolerate a commercial, I can’t because all I can do is stream the shows since I don’t have access to an actual television. 

    My generation is highly in favor of what is free and readily available. It may be amoral but it is a lot easier. Maybe one day this mentality will backfire. For example, lower quality television shows may be more prominent since there’s no longer enough funding for it. Thankfully, however, the saving grace of television and advertisement industries is that it is mostly the youth that they are concerned about. The older generations haven’t made that technological transition and are still watching television, thus still providing that much needed revenue. Perhaps this is a wake up call to advertisement agencies in terms of how they should rework their marketing tactics.  

    In any case, I shall conclude with a list of my favorite streaming sites:

    • YouTube – Millions of time-killing random videos and original web series
    • Hulu (US only) – Completely free with tons of movies and shows, although some are pretty vintage
    • Ch131 – Has the latest episodes of the most popular television shows. They also have blockbuster movie releases before 2012
    • sidereel – Much like Ch131 but easier to navigate
  • The Ugly Truth

    I am now halfway done (3/6) of my blogging for my Internet and Globalization class!

    Today, we will talk about being anonymous on the Internet. This is not to be confused with the troll/hacker group Anonymous, but just the state of hiding one’s identity. I recently came across an article from the Wall Street Journal titled, “Internet On, Inhibitions Off: Why We Tell All.” Reading it truly evoked long stifled emotions of what it was like to be on the receiving end of cyber bullying.

    The author, Matt Ridley, suggests that we as humans are much more honest when it comes to impersonal interaction, meaning an exchange that does not require face-to-face contact. This can include standing next to your coworker in the elevator or calling a friend  on the phone or even saying confession to a priest behind a curtain. In my case, it happened on the computer and apparently, it even has a name! John Suler of Rider University calls it the “online dishibition effect” which basically means that the Internet eliminates the need to follow social etiquette because hierarchy and status does not exist. We are essentially whoever we want to be and thus we are free to do and say as such.

    Now rewind to 8 months ago on what seemed like a normal summer day. I was doing my regular rounds on the Internet when randomly stumbled upon a forum where a few of the posters were talking about my blog. My God and these were not nice comments at all. It was so strange and disheartening to read these insults and critiques from people I had never met before and who were basing their assumptions from this person I convey online. This “online dishibition effect” worked for and against me because while I was able to express how I feel, certain readers were in turn, able to express how they felt about me. I use my blog as the ultimate confessional, a place where I open up about myself in a way that I wouldn’t be comfortable with doing in real life. I write for myself but at the same time all these anonymous people around the world are reading what I write. The following is an excerpt from the blog post I wrote following that find: 

    Have you ever seen something that you didn’t like and then posted a nasty comment about it afterwards? Let’s be real. Remember Rebecca Black? Sometimes we write hurtful messages online because we feel protected by the wide expanse of the Internet. Made up usernames and fake profile pictures can mask our bitter or jealous identities, but our comments are real and tangible. I am not an exception to this matter of negative reactions. I remember when the song “Friday” was becoming a global sensation. I shook my head as my American friends reblogged it on Tumblr while my French friends linked it on Facebook. I covered my ears as it played on a radio in Scotland and then warily listened to it as students in Egypt sang it on the streets. I didn’t like the song, but I certainly had no problem with the singer herself. It made me sad to read articles in the news about how Rebecca Black was receiving hate mail with notes such as “Go kill yourself” and “I hope you develop an eating disorder.” According to one source, Black explained how she cried when she first started receiving the nasty comments. She admitted, “I felt like this was my fault. And I shouldn’t have done this, and this is all because of me.” 

    In the end, I actually managed to find the culprit behind the comment. It’s funny how the tables turned. In that forum, the anonymous poster was so brutally frank and arrogant that you would think they pretty much owned the Internet. Why? Because were anonymous. But once confronted, the same poster became timid and apologetic. I’m happy to say that I successfully doused that flame war.

  • You mean the World… of Warcraft to me.

    If you’ll please excuse this interruption from my normal Paris ranting, this is the second blog post for my Internet & Globalization class.

    In high school, I had the stereotypical “nerd” boyfriend. Now, don’t mistake this as the cool, black-rimmed glasses wearing geek that the hipster has made prominent. No, my guy was your typical socially inept and acne ridden nerd. Unsurprisingly, he was the one who introduced me to the number one most popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), “World of Warcraft” or “WoW.” It sets users into a virtual fantasy world where they can create avatars to explore the land, interact with other characters, and fight monsters. As a previous player, I can vouch that the game can get extremely time consuming if one is serious about developing their avatar to its full potential. In fact, on average users spend about 34.6 hours a month gaming. It’s no wonder that with these statistics, the clever folks at Mashable came up with this entertaining infographic arguing “Why ‘World of Warcraft’ Might Get You More Dates than Match.com.

    Now, as a personal disclaimer – I did not meet my then boyfriend on WoW. But we sure did a lot of our dating via it. Nothing said affection more than waking up to a virtual rose in my mailbox or even better, having him spend hours walking me through a particularly difficult dungeon. This is the courtship of online love. Thus, I can easily understand why it is argued that WoW is a more successful place than Match.com. It is because I personally believe that Match.com isn’t a specific enough site for someone to actually find the love of your life on it. There is too much of a plethora of different personalities on there to find the one that most closely “matches” your own. This is contrast to the other dating websites that are much more exclusive, like JDate (just for the Jews) or AdamMeetEve (if you don’t get the biblical reference then you definitely won’t match with these people). Therefore, I’ll have to clarify that this infographic only applies for the special few – the nerds. But just to quickly summarize the numbers: 

    To give my insider’s perspective, online games make it more possible for nerds to find love than if they used dating website. It is entirely more likely that they will meet someone who shares their interests in Sci-Fi and computer-programming while they raid than if they spent the same amount of hours perusing through countless dating profiles.

    It may not have been on Match.com, but I’ve tried that whole online dating thing and it’s hard! Sure, your match may be searching for you too, but there are so many frogs to filter through that finding your Prince Charming may seem impossible.  I’ve found that the guys on dating websites to be either: desperate since they’re terrible at wooing girls in real life, or suave Don Juans who definitely know how to woo and just want a quick hook up or 5. Those who play World of Warcraft go into it with no expectations about finding love; they just want to have fun. If anything, the dating is more accidental than forced. According to the infographic, “Men approached by women in a high-adrenaline situation are 37.5% more likely to feel an attraction. Battling demons and trolls with a girl is a bigger rush than grabbing coffee with her.”

    To conclude, I’d like to share a funny article that I found while researching this topic. It’s a how to for those who “Want to Get Married in World of Warcraft?” I’m not sure if it’s sarcastic or not, but I did find this particular gem in the comments section:


Senior Says Salut

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