What is your favorite memory from studying abroad?
One of my favorite memories from studying abroad was the day me and my roommates tried to go visit Versailles. Since it was finally starting to warm up in Paris, we had planned for a day trip there so we could really enjoy it. But after riding the train for about 30 minutes we realized that we were going in the completely wrong direction. At first we were all frustrated but ultimately decided to go back to Paris and go to Versailles another day. So we went to Hotel de Ville near our apartment and there was a man there who had a contraption that made huge bubbles and was blowing them all around.
Almost everyone around us stopped and watched the bubbles float into the air or get popped by children. After that we went and ate lunch on top of the Pompidou, which has one of the best views of the city. Later that day we went underground and explored the catacombs. Even though the day didn’t go as planned, it ended up being one of my favorite days in Paris.
What does your study abroad experience mean to you?
Throughout my life, studying abroad was something I always wanted to do. So actually getting to go and do it was a dream come true for me. After spending about a week in Paris, it was my birthday so before it turned midnight me and my roommates all went to the Eiffel Tower so I could watch it sparkle right as it became my birthday. For dinner we made reservations to eat there in one of the restaurants. Getting served champagne on my birthday in the Eiffel Tower was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. This was one of the happiest and surreal moments for me because it really made the whole experience set in for me.
Not only was my trip filled with moments I’ll remember forever, but it truly helped me to be more confident with myself. Even though I was very excited to go on this adventure, I also was very nervous about leaving and being so far from home. But once I arrived in Paris I knew that it was exactly where I needed to be.
What advice do you have for new study abroad students?
My advice for new study abroad students is to get out of your comfort zone and do as much as you can because the time will fly by. There truly is so much out there in the world and this time abroad is one of your best opportunities to explore it. Be sure to go on weekend trips and explore new areas. Try the local food even if sounds a little intimating, and go off the beaten path some and see what the locals are doing. But also don’t forget to spend lots of time exploring your own host city, this is your home for a little bit, so go beyond the tourist destinations. Truly getting to know the city you are living in makes your time there so much more enjoyable. The odds are you won’t spend this much time in that city again, so be sure to make the most of it while you’re there.
Abbey was a spring 2019 student from University of Alabama.