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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

About a year ago I was determined to do a summer abroad program, which is a little uncommon to do as a first-year, but I knew that I wanted to go to Paris. I chose a program called “Americans in Paris” through UC Davis, which ended up being the perfect program for me. Although I’m a philosophy major, my true calling is creative writing and as this program focused on comparative literature, I knew from the start I was going to love it.

Some of my moments from this summer are sealed in my mind, encased by their own beauty and the pure bliss that engulfed me. Whether I was perched on a street-facing table at a Parisian cafe, a cup of espresso in hand and a pen in the other, writing my little journal in the same spots as the greats did, Hemingway, Stein, and so on, or walking across the Seine, the wind guiding my hair to trail behind me, laughing with the new friends that I had found such strong connections with — I don’t think I can ever forget my time in Paris. The program required us to read a significant amount, but with what we were reading it didn’t even seem like a chore. t made me feel immersed in the culture that I was touring without making me feel like a tourist. It also required us to keep a journal up to date of everything we did and saw which was the cherry topping off how unforgettable this trip was since I have every detail written down. 

The most unique part of the experience for me was the other people I met while in the program. Coming from UCs all along the coast, I was able to make a group of lifelong friends who I still keep in touch with, and some that also go to Davis who I see weekly. I can’t promise that you’re going to have this same experience in your study abroad program, but even a chance of sharing such a beautiful month with people that you love so much is worth the risk. 

The program also required fieldwork to be accomplished each day, which included visiting museums and historical sites that reached beyond the classic tourist spots. So every day after our 11-2 class, we would embark into the city. My favorite spot had to be Musée d’Orsay. We must have spent hours roaming around all the twisting and turning hallways, admiring and journaling our thoughts on the art we saw, and were getting school credit for it! 

All in all, I think that nothing should stop you from doing a summer abroad if you’re passionate about it! Davis even gave me a scholarship for a short essay I wrote about why I wanted to go abroad, and I’m sure you could do it too. I’ll never forget the memories I made in Paris, and I’ll never be able to thank it enough for its role in helping me become the person I am today.

Ariana, or Aria, is a second year philosophy major and comparative literature minor at UCD. She enjoys fashion, cartoons, spending times with friends, and La Croix.