The end of month 1!! wow

So time does fly by quite fast.  I keep feeling like everything is going by so slow, but I have already been here for a month and it feels like I just got here.  I am getting more comfortable living in Paris, which is a good thing.  Hopefully everything will feel totally comfortable by the time I leave.  But to think about it, that is how it always is…you finally get comfortable with something and then you need to leave. 

So I am 100% officially a student of Saint-Denis, Paris 8.  I got my student card yesterday and I even registered for all of my classes.  I am taking 4 courses this semester, and I already finished one 3 credit course since I have been here through MICEFA.  The classes here a much different, there is no set time slots for the classes, it is all based upon when the professor wants class to be each week.  For example, there is no MWF 9:10-10:05 classes, the teacher decides they want class 12-3 in the afternoon and thats when class is.  Oh another thing about classes here is that they meet only once a week generally for 3 hours, but sometimes 2 and 1/2.  Anyway, my courses this semester are, Litterature and Politics, French Grammer, Expression through Speaking and Writing and the schooling of non-french speaking students (essentially learning how to teach non-french speaking students french).  I am most excited about the teaching course, it is going to be very difficult, but I am so interested to learn about methods of teaching and instruction in France.  I am also sure that it will help me be a better French teacher in the US.  Europe must be doing something right with foreign language instruction considering almost everyone speaks at least one foreign language. 

The past few days have been very ordinary days, even though I live in Paris I still need to do chores and errands like in the states.  It is not always the glitz and glamour people think of when they hear you are studying abroad :). I went to they gym, did grocery shopping, did my laundry and cleaned my apartment.  The past 3 days have been very productive.  Although, I will have to say that doing laundry here was a little bit of a challenge.  Once I figured it out it wasn’t that hard, I just had to learn how the process worked.   They charge by the weight of your laundry but then you are supposed to know (through growing up and living in europe) that the washers are different sizes.  So technically you pay to use a washer and they hold a certain amount of laundry.  Then the other big difference is that you have to load your washer, make sure the detergent is in and there is one control panel by the door.  You put the number of your washer machine into the keypad then it tells you how much to pay and you put the money in.  But to control everything in the laundry mat there is one place to pay and everything has a number, even to buy laundry detergent.  The fun things you have to learn in a foreign country and take for granted at home. 

That is it for now, I have some more things I have to do today.  Enjoy my post for now, hopefully I will post again soon. :)

Reeling in Big Fish!

Taking on the big ones….

Talked to some great people today at the SUNY Oswego Women Connections Seminar event. It was an event on campus brought to connect women through talking about women issues and all kinds of jobs for women!

It was not easy getting up on Yon Kippur, I won’t lie I was really grumpy this morning. An apology goes out to Tim for dealing with me this morning :)

However I did get everything done and even passed out some resumes.

Oswego has been so great I even found some more opportunities to follow up the seminar, maybe a job in radio :)

It is chill for now and I am off to finish laundry and homework. Reeling in big fish by day and average college student by night…Be Ozzy :)Joyce Dunsmoor and friend Cindy

More on Hohoe

Hohoe, Ghana

I’m going to Hohoe, but I still don’t know what I’m doing there yet. I have done some research into what’s there, as well as having met a guy from Accra in my French class who knows about Hohoe.

Kwamena is from Ghana, and we spoke briefly in French class. He said Hohoe is more rural than Accra.

But, I’m looking for an EXTREME cultural immersion, so rural – I can do.

One of the most famous tourist destinations of Hohoe is the Wli Waterfalls. “Wli Waterfalls cascades from a height of 60-80 meters, and is the highest falls in West Africa.” ( There are two distinct waterfalls at different heights to view. I can’t wait to see these! Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to make it out into the rainforest on my weekends off. The three that I’m there. This area is also basically a HUGE bat sanctuary. Tons of them live there and are being hunted by the community to regulate the population. The waterfalls are in the Agumatsa Wildlife Sanctuary.
The falls are supposed to bring fertility to barren women, and they’re seen as spiritually powerful, according to the Forestry Commission of Ghana.

I hope I can go there!!
Wli Waterfalls

Courtesy of Bobbie Nystrom

So, I go for my yellow fever vaccination on Monday. You have to get them before you can get your visa for Ghana, which I will be getting ASAP. Yellow fever is a virus you can get from infected mosquitoes. The CDC says the “illness ranges in severity from a self-limited febrile illness to severe hepatitis and hemorrhagic fever.” So, it’s kind of a big deal. And it’s really expensive, but luckily I’ve had more funds come in for my trip, from gracious family and church members.

I cannot wait. I’m getting closer and closer. I’m doing more research on cultural aspects, so until next time… Mia doga (goodbye in Ewe)

What was I thinking?

I’d like to say that I’m what some call a ‘go getter’. I thrive to be busy and always have something to do. I’m really involved on campus in clubs, SA, orientation and varsity athletics. However, I decided, for some unknown reason, to take 21 credits, on top of my job at Maurices, a women’s clothing store.
I really want to graduate on time. But the more I think about it and the farther into the semester it gets, the more I’m rethinking my decision and the less it matters at so what time I graduate. The economy isn’t going to magically resolve itself by 2011.
There’s not much more I can do about this. I’m kind of stuck. But, I just keep telling myself that I can do this and there is always help when I need it. Whether it be help writing a paper, getting a tutor, or just moral support from friends or faculty, it’s always there. After every week, I just remind myself it’s one week down:)
But come final time, I’m really going to need moral support from friends and faculty and buckle down on studying! Take this as a lesson learned from me, even if you think you can do everything in the world, there’s just not enough of you to go around!
Take on a few things and put your everything into them. (great advice I learned through an LOC line during orientation). You’ll be much more satisfied that just dipping your toes into everything and not really being completely involved.
So now, it’s time for me to get studying for my COM 100 exam tomorrow, finish a module in my online economics class, right a review of a research paper, read three chapters for English and study Italian vocabulary… it’s going to be an all night! Phew… I can do this!

Les journees du Patrimoine et Paris 8!

So these past few days have been really busy.  Like I said in my last post.  Saturday and Sunday were the heritage days in Paris (les journees du patrimoine) and they occur only once a year.  It is a really big deal and the French really appreciate and value their heritage.  Most of the government buildings that are generally closed to the public, open their doors to the world.  And for the most part, everything is free. 

Anyway, Saturday I went to the Assemblee National, the Centre Pompidou, and we went to a concert of 17th century music at L’oratoire de le Louvre.  The national assembly was very cool, the building had esquisite details in every room and all the details were painted in gold leaf.  They had a string quartet playing and in the courtyard they had some french military guys playing french horns.  It was really wonderful.  At the Church of the Louvre the concert was amazing.  We went to the centre pompidou after and it was free because of the heritage days, we lucked out.  After the museum closed I walked around paris because it was so beautiful outside.  The weather was perfect.  It was nice to see some of the nightlife before I headed home.

I got up at 6am sunday morning and went to the Moulin rouge for the last Heritage Day.  We waited for 4 hours to get in.  We were even close to the front (it didn’t open until 9, but then we waited until 11 to get in.)  It was the first time they have ever participated in the Heritage Days, and it was free to enter.  I am glad I went because they told us when we went in they said that this is the first and last time that they are participating in these days.  It is the 120th anniversary and they wanted to do something special.  We got to go and see the whole theatre and then they brought us back stage to see all of the costumes and the dressing rooms and everything.  We even got to go on stage.  It was amazing and worth the wait.  Even the people that pay to see the show don’t get to see what I got to see.  And it is the only time they are ever ever doing something like that.  What an opportunity.  It was incredible, we got to take lots of pictures, but we weren’t allowed to take pictures backstage of the costumes.  Oh well,  they were still amazing.  We also went to the Insitut de France.  It is comprised of 5 academies.  The most famous one, the academy francaise is the institution that decides everything about the French language.  They explain the usage of the language and its proper intentions.  It identifies the language of French and everything to do with speech, spelling, meanings, usage,  and the fields in which it is used.  They are the entity that decides what is French and what is not French regarding the language.  This building is never open to the public except for these two days, so it was really cool to go inside.    We did a lot and it was really fun.  I am glad I got to do these things.  It was really lucky that I was here for these days.  

I had my orientation French class Monday and yesterday then I just hung out and went to the gym to keep in shape for hockey.  I have been quite sore the past few days, it is starting to wear off a bit and I am almost able to walk normal again. 

Today I had class in the morning, then I went to my university for a tour.  It is called Paris 8: Saint Denis.  It is in the north of Paris, only about a 25 min metro ride from my apartment.  It was much bigger than the universities that are located in the middle of Paris.  I really liked it.  The area seemed very nice, although like I have said all along, things are always more difficult in Paris.  To register for classes we need to go to each department to register for differnent classes.  For example, you need to go to the FLE department to register for french as a foreign language classes and you need to go to the history department for history classes and the art department for art classes.  It is a pain in the butt and very inconvient.  Anyway, I found the office for international student relations, it was a cute little office in the adminstrative building.  There were little cafes all over the campus and in european style they all had beer.   I really enjoyed my visit. 

I have to go back to the campus on Monday to register for classes.  I get my student ID card either tomorrow or friday so then i will be able to register for classes.  There is no huge rush because classes don’t start until October 8th.  I am going to do lots of travelling and sign-seeing until then.  Anyway I have a little work that I need to do.  I will post soon.  Byye!

The Declaration

I know you guys are expecting me to start off my first blog by letting you know how my summer went and what are my plans for the semester but today I have something completely different for you, something that’s way more important… Don’t worry eventually I will give you the update! Here is the reason why I decided to skip all of that  it’s because I have something on my mind, which I would like to call the ” Declaration.”

Yeah I know you’re wondering what in the world is Sherrifa talking about?  Well I am a senior spending my last days of exploration in the land of Oz, and I have all these plans and dreams, where I want to go, what I want to do, who I want to work for, how much money I aspire to make with my BA, and the list goes on and on. All these hopes and dreams are because I want to be successful, and of course I do the preparation to fulfill all these dreams. I learned something very important this summer and I want to share it with you because it helped me understand what to do with your dreams, how to approach success. Ever since I have been making progress towards living in the moment and growing with new prospects and knowledge.

This summer I read a book by John C. Maxwell, ” How Successful People Think,”  Of course I am reading this book because I am panicking, I am thinking oh goodness it’s my senior year, I am going out into the real world, I am going out in the professional field, I want to be successful, who do I turn to?! But that was my first mistake, it shouldn’t have been now that I was hoping to focus on my success, so I say to you all… go and find a John C. Maxwell now!!! This is the time. It doesn’t have to be in a book, it can be your mother, mentor, or professor. Work towards your success now, don’t wait, make connections, reconnect with yourself, develop new plans! Don’t wait until senior year or before the interview, don’t wait!!! Don’t hope for success work towards it every day, maximize your resources.

That’s it ladies and gentlemen, that is the “Declaration” I am not just talking to my peers, I am speaking to everyone, get to it!!!  I will leave you with these last notes from John C. Maxwell, I hope you can use these words for encouragement,  to be a star,  to be spontaneous,  to pave your own path, and  to develop new plans to achieve your success. This is what John C. Maxwell said:

” People who rely on hope for their success rarely make change a high priority. If you have only hope, you imply that achievement and success are out of your hands.”

I will say this to you, place value on your success, leave no room for hopes, starting make blueprints for your dreams.

“Lizzie Is Dying To Know, How Much Blood Will You Be Giving To The Red Cross”

    This week, the Theatre Department will be hosting a Blood Drive to help promote “Blood Relations” but more importantly, to do something good for our community. The Blood Drive will be Tuesday, September 22nd though Thursday, September 24th. Each day, the Red Cross will be in the Campus Center (above the ice rink) from 11:30 A.M, to 5:30 P.M to take Donations. Walk-ins are welcome, but if you would like to make an appointment you can e-mail RedCross@Oswego.Edu. Everyone who comes out and donates blood will be entered into a drawing to win prizes. Each day, one lucky winner will receive two tickets to see “Blood Relations”!
     For those who are donating, please remember to eat a big breakfast and drink lots of water before your appointment. Students from the Theatre Department will be there to hand you juice and a snack once you’ve finished.

     For those students that need to see “Blood Relations” as a requirement for their class, donating blood is one way to (have a chance to) receive free tickets, another way is through the “Take Your Students to the Arts Program”. Approach one of your teachers and ask them if they can take you to see the play.  Every Faculty/Staff member who purchases a ticket can bring up to three students to the show for free.

     For more information about “Take Your Students to the Arts Program”, you can go to:

Come out this week and support the Red Cross, we will see you there!

Thinking about things…

It’s 2am and I’m sitting in my living room wide awake.  I went to my friend’s birthday party and had a great time.  I got to see some friends and just have fun.  There was one thing…I was expected to drink.  I turned 21 in July and now everyone who is also 21, and some others assume that I’m going to join in.  I don’t see why I need to.  I had 4 Mountain Dews at the party and that kept me going..haha.  I didn’t feel like drinking and usually don’t.  I don’t understand how people can have fun by going to bars and just standing around.  I need and want to keep moving and be active when I’m hanging out with my friends.  Earlier today a few of us were riding 4-wheelers around the yard and it was the most fun I’ve had in a while.  My friend, Matt, has a barn and we cleaned it up so that the party could be in there.  I enjoyed this…I got to spend time with him and just talk about whatever is going on.  He, his girlfriend, their friend, and I all went out to dinner to celebrate his birthday earlier this evening and again, I had fun.  Then we got back and everyone started to arrive.  This is when I got instantly bored and wanted to go home.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being around lots of people and dancing and talking, but I didn’t see the point in having the keg and all of that stuff.  it was completely legal and we were all of age, but it just wasn’t and usually isn’t my thing.

This probably isn’t the best segway but that brings me to my point.  College is supposed to be about learning new things.  This doesn’t just mean academic but social and life lessons as well.  I want to try new things like hiking and snowmobiling.  It would be great to go out once in a while and just climb all day.  Maybe it’s a metaphor but I want to reach the top.  Ok is that an analogy? I’m not sure… Anywho…I need to find different things to keep myself busy.  I want to grow and I want to be able to add more experiences to my list.  College is almost over and I want to do as much as I can.  Time goes so fast and the past three years have just disappeared.  It’s so scary!!! Well I think that’s all I have for tonight.  It’s now almost 3am, I actually started this entry at 2:30, not 2am, but still, it’s late.  Until next time…