I honestly cannot believe that the semester is already coming to an end. Time flies by so quickly when you’re constantly emerged in a culture where you’re learning something new everyday. It still leaves me in shock thinking back to the fact that I’ve been living in Paris since the end of August. Now that December nears, I’m mentally preparing myself for the end. I have to admit, it’s bittersweet. A part of me is super excited to see my friends and family, eat the American foods I love, and speak English 24/7, however, a greater part of me never wants to leave this country.
Paris has taught me a lot about myself that I may not have realized on my own without having lived here for this semester. I’ve realized throughout my experience that I’m meant to live in a metropolitan city in the future. I love the efficiency of the city, the pace, and that fact that there is always something to do no matter what. Growing up in the suburbs, I’ve always had to drive everywhere. Now that I’ve mastered the Paris metro system, I never want to drive again! I feel like I could conquer any form of transportation anywhere in the world.
Since I was young, I have been fortunate enough to be exposed to the European culture and customs because my mom was born and raised in Germany. Our family would travel often to different countries, just as I had this semester, but the difference is now I planned every aspect of the trips from start to finish. Traveling around Europe, being based in Paris, is so simple. So many countries are just a couple hours by plane or train, making it easy to hop around to different places on the weekends.
Living in Paris and being exposed to so many European countries has completely shaped my outlook on life. Americans in general, myself included, allow themselves to be stressed all the time. I’ve noticed that Europeans live a much more relaxed life, not allowing work to consume them completely. This is something I’m going to hold onto in the future. Although work, whether for school or an occupation, is very important, there is more to life. Everyone deserves to sit outside at a café, enjoy a nice coffee, and just soak in the surroundings. Life is too short to sweat the little things.
Overall, I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to study abroad in Paris. It really was the experience of a lifetime. Although 4 months seems like a short time, I will still always consider this city my home away from home. I can truly say that I made the most out of the semester, traveled to the most amazing countries, ate the best food, and met people I will never forget. Maybe one day I will actually reside in Paris, and be able to call it my actual home. The future is bright, and this is just one of the many times I plan to take on Europe. This is not a goodbye, Paris, I’ll see you later!
Sina is a student at University of Tampa studying at American University of Paris (AUP) during the Fall 2014 term.