Allow me to introduce myself.
Hello fellow world-travelers. I apologize in arriving late to the party, but after spending much time “checking you all out,” I am elated to be in attendance. I’m Katherine and I am beginning my junior year at Gallatin. I spent my freshman year at Fordham University in the Gabelli School of Business. There, I quickly discovered neither Fordham nor business studies were quite right for me, so I transferred to NYU Gallatin—needless to say, it was a good decision.
Now, I am studying at NYU Paris. It’s the start of my third year of college, and my arrival at a third new campus; it is my third “beginning,” my third “fresh start,” my third “something new.” Thinking about this both excites and saddens me. Sometimes this makes me feel adventurous and fiercely independent, which I love. While at other times, this makes me feel lonely and restless. I’m forced to recognize that I may be missing out on the typical college experience which produces lifelong friendships, as my only sticking around in one place for one year rarely constitutes enough time to harbor an unbreakable bond, and I’m left questioning myself as to why I can’t seem to stay put, why I’m always craving that “something new.” That being said, I love meeting new people, making new friends, and exploring new environments. Studying abroad has always been something I’ve planned on doing while in college, no ifs ands of buts about it. Both of my parents studied abroad, through a “Semester at Sea.” It’s all they talked about when I was young, and I grew up thinking a semester abroad was an academic requirement, and to my parents it is, even if it isn’t in the form of a “Semester at Sea.” I love them for this! (Note: I love them for many reasons and have a wonderful relationship with each of them). But, I especially love them for this. From a young age my parents instilled in me a great love for travel and exploration, and from them I have developed my own unquenchable thirst for that “something new,” that “someplace different.”
Now, I’ll admit, though a semester abroad has always been on my to-do list, a semester in Paris has not. I’ve never been all that interested in France. I spent 5 days in Paris when I was 13, and I left with an array of lackluster sentiments towards the city. It was cold (in February), difficult to navigate, smelly, the people were rude, and the food was only alright because I couldn’t eat enough pain au chocolat at least 3 times a day for five straight days before it became too much (I’m happy to report my taste buds have expanded to welcome many new flavors). So why in the heck did I choose Paris?? In all honesty, for over a year now, I have been planning on my Spring 2013 semester in Ghana as my semester abroad. But then, I got to thinking, and I started to worry that maybe a semester in Ghana would leave me feeling like I “missed out” on that European study-abroad experience, and then just like that, within twenty-four hours of the inception of this train of thought, my application to NYU Paris was signed, sealed, delivered! So yes, I chose Paris because I want to let loose, I want to “live it up” in Europe, I want to take advantage of the fact that I can legally drink, and I want to have “one of those study-abroad experiences,” but I’m not crazy, and all that being said, in the ten days I’ve been here, I’ve been out drinking one night. More than anything, I wanted to do something spontaneous. I wanted to do something unwritten in my fifteen-year plan, and to not know what I will be doing next week or maybe even tomorrow. Also, French fluency will prove to be incredibly useful when I’m working as an international human rights attorney in West Africa, and when I attend UN conferences. Maybe I will even be invited by the UN to be a guest lecturer for my specialization regarding the recognition of women’s rights and human rights, which I will be able to deliver in both French and English. Although, this probably won’t happen until after I’m married at age twenty-nine and settled into my cozy home with two Great Danes… Did I mention I was a planner? (Please note there are moments of sarcasm in that final spiel—I’m not overly attached to Grate Danes, though dogs are non-negotiable).
Oh, and P.S. Paris is nothing like I remember at age 13. I absolutely love it! And the people are so nice. Maybe New Yorkers have left me jaded, but Parisians are seriously friendly.