Li Essay

Submitted By ShuwenH1
Words: 652
Pages: 3

Shuwen Huang
Professor Baucom
English 113
18 April 2012
David Sedaris’s “Me Talk Pretty One Day” as an Accurate Reflection of Studying Abroad in France David Sedaris’s “Me Talk Pretty One Day” is a short story that depicts his time spent as a student studying abroad in France. Sedaris’s story is so humorous and colorful that readers must think it is a completely fabricated piece of bombastic fiction. But I too, like Sedaris, have spent time in Paris, France as an American student studying abroad; and although some may think that Sedaris exaggerated his experiences to make his story more interesting to readers, I believe that Sedaris’s portrait of a year spent in France through the eyes of an American student is an accurate representation of the challenges associated with studying abroad in Paris, the City of Light. Like Sedaris, I too “moved to Paris with hopes of learning the language” (635). I was nineteen when I moved to Paris and although I had earned grades of “A” and sometimes even “A+” in my university level French courses, I quickly realized that my French was not “assez bien” (good enough). Similarly to Sedaris, I too felt immediately alienated and alone in France on my first day of school at a French university. After taking many difficult tests, I was accepted into the American foreign study program at the Sorbonne University, which is a very old and prestigious university in the center of Paris. Sedaris writes that on his first day of school in France, “everyone spoke in what sounded to me like excellent French” (635). Although I took classes with other foreign students, I too felt like everyone around me spoke better French than I did! Not only did I find that the students spoke better French than I did, but like Sedaris, I too thought that all of the students even looked and acted more French than I did. While other French students around me seemed to, as Sedaris describes, “exhibit an ease and confidence,” which, like Sedaris, I too found to be “intimidating,” I was a loud, hippie, California beach-bum who stuck out like a bottle of Heinz ketchup in a room of red wine (635). The French students around me all looked so beautiful, chiseled and professional. Where they wore cute, colorful flats or sophisticated LaCoste shoes, I wore beat-up Birkenstocks. Sedaris describes his fellow French students as being, “young, attractive and well-dressed” and I agree with his description (635). The female French students around