by Jessica Tapiculin
Coming to a world unknown from LIM College has one main benefit: every single thing is a new experience. Whether it's eating a baguette (that puts American bread to shame), admiring the architecture or listening to the sweet sound of French accents…I absolutely love Paris! Or should I say, J'adore Paris! And yes, that is one out of the five only words I know in French. So how do you take advantage of a new country?
Go out of your comfort zone.
Meeting new people and making the most of my time here is the best and easiest part of going abroad. Icebreakers and intros are usually awkward, but just remember, we’re all in the same position on our first day. Even if you’re not the social butterfly, step out of your comfort zone—reinvent yourself! Do you really want to spend your time cooped up in your apartment or going around alone? Of course not! Not only have I been immersed into French culture, but I’ve met people from all over the world—from Germany, Australia, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, etc. I’m so thankful to have enjoyed this study abroad experience with them and to have created life-long friendships.
Food and restaurants
I’ve already mentioned my love for baguettes, but I should say it again. The baguettes and croissants are amazing. I’m not too crazy about macaroons, but trying them at least once is a must. Sitting in a café, drinking coffee and people watching is also a nice change since my New Yorker self usually revolves around Seamless and never leaving my bed. Every restaurant I’ve been to in a non-tourist area has been amazing, even the ones where speaking English doesn’t suffice. Being surrounded by the native language is also a good way to learn it! If you’re like me and don’t know an ounce of French, don’t worry. I was able to manage a whole four months and survived on the grocery store chat basics.
Side note: The biggest Chipotle is also located in La Defense in Paris for my fellow burrito lovers. Yes, Chipotle was still so necessary for me even in France.
Paris is filled with so many sites, museums, bars, etc. and only having four months to see it all is an adventure. While you won’t get to all, you’ll sure find your go-to places. Vintage shopping is a must in Le Marais. Aside from the famous Louvre, the modern art museum Centre George Pompidou is one of my favorites.
Don’t worry about being homesick or money
This may sound difficult, but honestly, it’s such a short amount of time! Home will be there when you get back. Coming from a girl with a stricter budget than some of my friends studying abroad, I stopped worrying because it’s really a once in a lifetime experience. Would I ever actually say, “I regret spending money on travelling to different countries and buying things I can’t find back home?”
Travel! Travel! Travel!
The best part of studying in Europe is being able to visit various countries at an affordable price in a short amount of time. Since my classes only were three days a week, weekend trips were easily done. As I said in my last point, it’s so much cheaper to travel within Europe than it is to fly from the US to Europe so, explore as much as you can! The hostels in Europe truly exceeded my expectations and staying in them is a great way to meet other people from all over the world.