The one thing I was certain about for my four years in college was that I wanted to study abroad. So, as I entered my first semester of senior year, not having completed the one goal I had set forth for myself, I was a little bit nervous. I attempted to organized a time for myself to go junior year for a semester, but there were too many loose ends here in Scranton that I needed to tie up. At the time, I had just declared three minors, and it would not have been feasible academically for me to leave for an entire semester. Additionally, the program that I was interested in had become unavailable. These hindrances in my ability to go abroad were frustrating and left me unwilling to compromise on any other program. After plans fell through, the idea of studying abroad left my mind until fall of my senior year rolled around.
As fall swept through Scranton, I began to think once again about the possibility of studying abroad as I was ensuring my position at graduation. I checked my graduation requirements and found that I had one more general education requirement to fulfill. This was exactly the opportunity I needed. At this point, I decided to apply for a three week course during my January term that would satisfy my graduation requirements. Everything came together at the last second: the location, the course and the timing. I chose Paris as my home for three weeks, because I had been enthralled with the city, language and culture ever since I was in middle school. The course I took was Paris College: History, Culture and Architecture. My fall semester flew by and in no time, it was time to depart for Paris!
After an eight-hour journey across the Atlantic, I landed in a place where I dreamed of going for years. It was exactly what I had imagined. A city filled with baguette and pastry shops as frequent as McDonalds in America. Fresh flower shops everywhere and rich history at every turn. This three week period allowed me to embrace the culture past the tourist destinations, although I did enjoy them. The highlight of my experience was in Versailles. Versailles was a castle for the royals back before the French Revolution, and my visit here was remarkable. We traveled to Versailles with our class which was very helpful because our “class time” was like a guided tour around Paris. Without the class, I would not have learned as much as I did.
The one place that struck me was the Eiffel Tower. I have seen a lot of the famous monuments throughout the United States and none has struck me as much as this did. I did not have high expectations for it considering how famous it was. However, it was well worth the hype. As I exited the metro station and caught my first glimpse of it, I was astonished. It was huge and very industrial looking. Throughout the three weeks of my stay, I visited the Eiffel Tower at least three or four times. It is a pillar in the French culture and can be seen from the Metro, the Arc de Triomphe, random side streets, etc.
This experience overall was very enriching. Honestly, since it was such a short stay I was not able to explore as much of Europe as I would have wanted. However, the three weeks was enough time for me to thoroughly enjoy and view all of Paris without feeling rushed. If you are considering studying abroad, my advice would be to go for it! Don’t get bogged down with the details and keep your mind open! There are so many opportunities that going into this process with a closed mine can be detrimental to your trip.