I have wanted to go to Paris for my whole life. When I saw this opportunity, I knew I had to take it. As an RA, I knew I didn't want to leave for a whole semester, so a break program was a great option for me. I loved this trip and the experiences within so much. I learned an immense amount about many different cultures and religions, all while still having fun and getting free time to explore Paris!
I feel like one of the most valuable learning experiences I encountered was just the fact that every culture has its own set of norms, and people are going to act differently than what you are used to, and it is still considered "normal" for where you are at. This was very prevalent in Paris, as my Instructors would tell us, "The French are very up-front." The French are not going to beat around the bush, which took a bit of adjusting to. From this, I learned that if you are ever going to study abroad, you have to make sure you look into the place you are going. You do not want to show up to another country and seem rude or unintelligent when you are just acting the way/doing the things you are used to.
The most memorable experience I have from the trip would definitely be climbing the Eiffel tower. My instructor told us we had to get the full Parisian experience and climb the stairs. It was very cold and about sixty flights. Although our legs hurt, climbing the stairs didn't take as much time as we all thought it would, and the experience was so great. I am so grateful that this was part of the trip, and I was able to climb up the Eiffel Tower.
What did you not expect?
I did not expect to pay every time I wanted to use the bathroom. That was a very unique experience and took some adjusting for sure. I understand why Paris functions this way and it does make a lot of sense. For my profession, I think having this knowledge will help me help my future clients in a more informed manner when it comes to budgeting for their trips.
What advice would you give?
I would say that if you have the funds to do it, then do it! You are never going to regret seeing the world. I strongly believe in that.
How has this experience impacted your life?
My experience opened my eyes to the world abroad. I had never been outside of the US until this trip, and I was amazed. Traveling in this way has made me add so many trips to my bucket list. I don't think I am someone who would ever be able to live or work abroad, but this trip definitely opened my eyes to the possibilities. It has also allowed me to see how another culture functions and create those connections to different aspects of my major.
How did you learn about this experience?
I knew during my freshman year that I wanted to study abroad at some point in my college career. Because of this, I was checking the Study Abroad page for new opportunities all summer long. I was so excited when I saw that Paris: Intersection of Cultures had been added, and I knew I had to jump on the opportunity.International Connections