ACCENT Community College Scholarship: It’s the Parisian Life for Me!

This week, we check back in with ACCENT Community College Scholarship recipient Leighanne Clitheroe, who talks about how her experiences in Paris have instilled in her a determination to continue following the Parisian lifestyle after returning home.


Before going to Paris for the summer I had never left the country, I had never traveled, and I had never been somewhere where the primary language wasn’t my own. I expected it to take a while to adjust to the whole situation, struggling with the time change, and being on my own for the first time. I was unsure how I would handle the month ahead, virtually on my own. It was the first time I had left home for this length of time. I was worried the stress of it all would make the trip less enjoyable.

However, all of my beliefs were challenged, and before I knew it, the first week had come and gone and I was doing just fine. I didn’t get jetlagged, I took to the metro like a duck to water, and I did better with my busy schedule than ever before. Being able to prove to myself that I could take more control over my life was thrilling. I was so happy to prove myself wrong!

Some of the things I will happily take with me from my Parisian experience are the food, the fashion, and the “C’est la vie” attitude. Since I left Paris, I have been making sure to eat healthy, fresh food. A meal in Paris isn’t just another time to eat food, but a time to be with the ones you care about as well. Farmer’s markets are all over the place, filled to the brim with fruits, vegetables and fresh meats. I avoided fast food places unless absolutely necessary and, I believe, for the better. I don’t want to slip back into my habit of eating junk food for the sake of convenience!

My time in Paris also inspired me to be better about what I wear. It doesn’t take much to achieve a Parisian look in your everyday wardrobe. Dresses, skirts and well fitted pants could be found on every girl, styled with a pair of tennis shoes. The people in Paris are well dressed and with such ease. I want to keep incorporating that style into my everyday wardrobe without resorting back to t-shirts and jeans 24/7. I bought myself two dresses while in Paris to help achieve this goal. The both look great with my tennis shoes!

I also have come to love the Parisians’ almost careless way of life. There is no rush, no hurry, and no panic. The metro is delayed? I’ll get there eventually. It’s hot out? I’ll just bring a hand fan with me. It’s been raining? It makes for a great day ahead. Nothing really fazes a Parisian. In California, it’s all deadlines and traffic jams. With all of the hustle and bustle living in California brings, you forget to just enjoy what’s presented before you, or forget to trust that things will all work out in the end. I’ve already been taking walks, just for the sake of it, rather than getting anywhere or for exercise.

I will also miss the old buildings of Paris. I learned that anything new in Paris has to be built on the outskirts to preserve the history of the city and the structures that were built generations ago. This helps the city feel like it has been stuck in time, a true escape from the modern world we live in. They say the best view of Paris is from the top of the Gare Montparnasse because you can’t see the Gare Montparnasse! I would agree! The lack of giant, modern skyscrapers was a breath of fresh air.

I don’t know when I will make it back to Paris, but until then, I plan to live my life as if I am still there! ~Leighanne Clitheroe, Orange Coast College

ACCENT is proud to support the Community College Scholarship as part of our commitment pledge to IIE Generation Study Abroad, a nationwide effort to help more U.S. students gain international experience through study abroad programs.

Did this post inspire you to delve into the Parisian lifestyle? Open enrollment programs with ACCENT allow students of all educational and financial backgrounds to study abroad. Find a program that works best for you at: To learn more about the ACCENT Community College Scholarship, visit: