Margaret Werner, an Amherst College student who came to Paris with Hamilton in France for the fall semester, received a disposable camera as a present for her birthday. She made great use of this present during her semester, as she explains in the following text (the photos in this post were taken with her camera).

At the top of each student’s packing list for a semester in Paris with Hamilton in France should be a disposable camera. My birthday fell a few weeks into the semester, and a close family friend was thoughtful enough to mail me a Kodak film camera with 28 images. As the sole Amherst student, I had been nervous I wouldn’t have a close group of friends to celebrate my birthday with so early on in the semester. However, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by how quickly our group came together and had a spectacular evening with friends in le Marais.

Margaret with Samuel, fellow Hamilton in France student
Margaret with Samuel, fellow Hamilton in France student

Beginning that September night, I made a conscious effort to bring my camera along on excursions rather than rely on my iPhone where texts from friends and family in the US were a strong source of temptation counter to the cultural immersion the Hamilton language pledge enforces.

When I developed my photos after returning to the US, I was brought back to so many incredible Paris memories. I printed photos from the first time I played Jeu de Paume in the 16th arrondissement and the best Speculoos crêpe I found in Bastille. I was brought back to guided tours at Versailles, Da Vinci’s Chateau d’Amboise in the Loire Valley, and the Strasbourg Christmas markets. My disposable Kodak proved handy throughout my semester in Paris and provided an incredible way for me to reflect on a semester of cultural immersion.

Margaret Werner, Amherst College ‘21

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