In her first week studying abroad in Paris, Pomona student Mary-Clare Bosco, ‘13, sits in front of the Eiffel Tower with her visiting friends, who were studying in Florence. The girls visited fromageries and charcuteries and bought their own personal baguettes, cheese and wine. “I was still kind of in that bliss phase,” she said. “My friends and I were just like, “'Oh, my God, we’re in Paris!'”

Though not emotionally prepared to return, Mary-Clare Bosco is back in Sacramento following Paris attacks

Mary-Clare Bosco, ‘13, is a student at Pomona College in Los Angeles. She was studying in Paris for the first semester of this year.

Bosco was not in Paris at the time of the attacks, but was taking a week-long vacation in Barcelona.  Following the events in Paris, she has returned home to Sacramento, where she will be staying with her parents until the second semester starts on Jan. 18.

(Bosco was first interviewed right after the attacks. Check out her initial reaction and experience here.)

Q: Where did you fly out from?

A: I flew back from Barcelona to Frankfurt, then to San Francisco. Then, I drove to Sacramento.

Q: Did all the Pomona students studying in France go home or just the ones that left the country?

A: I don’t know. I was the only one who left the country at the time of the attack, which made it a lot easier for me to leave Europe. Had I been in Paris, I don’t know if I could have even left since there are so many delays and transportation in the city is blocked.

Bosco eats macaroons and drinks wine in front of the Eiffel Tower.
(Photo used by permission of Bosco)
Bosco eats macaroons and drinks wine in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Q: What classes were you taking while in France?

A: Since I was an environmental economics major, I was really able to delve into French art, and food, creatively express myself through the various art classes. I was taking History of Photography, Origins of Modern Art.

Paris is such a hub of art and there were all these museums everywhere. I was able to take classes that I never would have taken at Pomona since I’m not an art person. If I were to take art at Pomona, I’d get a C!

Q: Is Pomona going to give you credits?

A: I talked to Pomona, and they said that I can’t continue with my art class. Also, I was interning for a chef. I was a translator. Obviously, I can’t do that anymore since I have to be physically present.

But since a lot of the course material is on an Internet site, called Moodle, I can easily continue with the rest of my classes.

I’m going to get two-and-a-half credits instead of the four credits I would have gotten if I had completed the semester towards my French minor.

I will also not be able to get credit for the painting and sculpture classes I was taking or the translating for a chef work that I did.

It’s okay, though, because I’m still on track to graduate. I only needed three credits and then one extra French class when I got back to the U.S., so in order to get the remaining credits, I’ll just take one extra French class this semester.

The program I was taking (IES Abroad Paris—French Studies) is making an exception for me because I left due to “extenuating circumstances” and the obvious safety concerns.

Q: What is going to happen to your belongings in Paris?

A: My friend is going to go over to the house I was staying at and is going to box up the essentials. I had a sh*tty suitcase anyway, so I am going to scrap that. She’s putting the essentials in a box and sending that.

I didn’t want my host family to be burdened with that responsibility; they’ve already been through so much.

Whatever clothes I leave, my host sister will have them.

Q: How was your host family?

A: My host family was so sweet. My host dad was from Martinique and my host mom was from Chile, so they were this beautiful blend of food and culture. They had three daughters. Two lived at home, the 14-year-old and the 22-year-old.

I ate dinner with them three times a week and breakfast with them every day. That’s a major perk of living with a host family – they give you free food.

I’m going to miss them.

The dog sucked, though. It was a typical French dog: whiny and mean.

Q: Why did you decide to come back?

A: Well, I really didn’t; my parents did for me. They very calmly told me, “We bought you a flight home, we really hope you get on this flight, here’s the flight information, check in as soon as possible if you can.” I did, and it was the best decision possible. I am relieved.

Q: How is it to be back home?

A: It’s nice to be back home. It’s nice to not have to worry about my security or being constantly vigilant about, you know.

Even before the terrorist attacks, there still are safety concerns being a young American girl in such a big city. I was constantly getting catcalled. I had to slap some people’s hands when they tried to pickpocket my stuff.

I’m relieved to be home and happy to be with my family.

They are so happy to have me back since this is the first time I’ve been living at home since high school.

It’s a little interesting, because my older brother is living at home with his pregnant girlfriend and Great Dane. I haven’t lived with my brother since eighth grade.

Q: How is it being back in Sacramento so soon?

A: It’s been a crazy transition.

After the crazy things that I’ve experienced, now I’m going to the sports club, swimming in a pool, eating with my family –  in my house.

I was not emotionally prepared to come back here.

Q: Was it the shock of leaving or the shock of coming back that was hard to deal with?

A: It was both.

I had never experienced a tragedy like that in my life before. It was one of the most traumatic things I’ve ever been through.

—By Chardonnay Needler

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