What You’ll Love Most About Studying Abroad: The Simple Things

We have heard it a million times—the infamous notion that what makes life beautiful is not those items of immense elegance nor opulence. What makes life beautiful is the simple things. It is the things that unfold before us that are in fact so normal and so expected, but somehow they bring a joy and a hope we seldom find in areas of profound riches.

To me, traveling has always been a fantasy. It has been the opportunity to experience new cultures, speak different languages, and see the world in a way we are unable to in the comfort of our own home. As I have been away from everything I know and am used to for almost three months now, I have found myself thinking thoughts I never anticipated to come across when I embarked on this journey.

Paris is a dream beyond dreams. On any given day, you can walk outside your door and see architecture so ornate and so decadent, you wonder how anything could possibly be so beautiful. You can be strolling down the street in the sixteenth arrondissement and see a woman so stylishly dressed, you contemplate how anyone could possibly be that sophisticated. So when I began this adventure of studying abroad in a life completely different from my own, I never once thought my fascination would rest anywhere else but in the sheer elegance of it all. I thought I would forever be consumed by the lavishness of what Paris is known to be.

But here I am, nearly three months later, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that everything I love and adore about Paris has nothing to do with any of that. In fact, my love for Paris springs from the opposite of all of the items I mentioned previously. My love for Paris rests and thrives on nothing other than—the simple things.

I love that when I walk into a boulangerie, I smell scents so incredible it makes me question how I ever ate bread that did not come from the confines of those ovens. I love that no matter where I am walking at night, the revolving light of the Eiffel Tower always manages to find me. I love that when I come home, I come home to a family that speaks to me in the most beautiful language in the world. I love that when I spend a day in the city, I am guaranteed to come across at least ten cultures—each one wildly different from the others.

While I undoubtedly seek all the aesthetic beauty Europe evokes, I find immense contentment in the idea that my happiness here does not reside purely in that domain. It is the thrill of knowing I am becoming one with this culture that makes me confident I am experiencing this place, and this adventure, well. When I speak of this chapter of my life, it brings me solace to know that I cannot truly capture the essence of what I love about this place on a piece of paper or with a camera. It is a feeling—a comfort—that I will carry with me in all the other facets of my life.


So as we venture through our own journeys and all that life is yet to bring us, I hope that the beauty we find is not in something we can see but rather in something we can feel. Because after all, it is the simple things that give this life its complex meaning.