A reluctant, yet inevitable, goodbye
Saying goodbye to Paris and my quaint and charmed life here is one of the most difficult farewells I have encountered thus far. I have nothing but positive thoughts and memories of my abroad experience, and reflecting on them, while saddening in the context of a goodbye, is comforting and satisfying all the same…
What was the most rewarding aspect of the experience?
The friends I made and making a city I really didn’t know much about completely my own. My extreme reluctance to leave Paris also seems like a great reward because it means that my entire semester here was a success.
What were the biggest problems you faced?
Dealing with the temperatures in January through mid March was extremely challenging. The winter was shockingly long and at times the cold certainly made me more lazy that usual, preventing me from taking advantage of the city on many days. The other biggest challenge I faced was the language barrier. Unfortunately, while my comprehension and reading of French has improved, sadly, my speaking has not.
What do you think you'll do differently when you get back home?
Paris has taught me the importance of time and constant exploration. Here, I have learned how to take full advantage of a day, how to combat laziness, and the art of consistent discovery. When I go back to New York this summer, I want to take full advantage of my time in the city. I want to discover hidden aspects of the city, meet new people, visit museums, have tourist days, and overall just take better advantage of the gift of being able to live in New York.
What will you take note of at home that you weren't noticing before?
I think I will observe people more. In Paris, I was always taking note of others around me so as to get better acquainted with the Parisian way of life. In moving back to New York, it would not surprise me if I carried this habit of observation overseas with me.
What do you think you'll remember years from now?
I will remember the friends that I made here, mainly our embracing of weirdness and our taste of adventure. I will remember my travels, Spain especially. I will remember picnicking and the feeling of sun on the first warm day. I will remember with a laugh the discomfort of the pullout couch I slept on for the entire semester I lived here. I will remember walking to monuments in the wee hours of the morning. I will remember why I gained so much weight abroad: almond croissants and quiche. I will remember the street music. I will remember smiling more than I ever have before.
What might NYU do to make study abroad a better program?
While I greatly enjoyed my experience in Paris, this was mainly a self-made experience, not one I can necessarily credit to NYU. One of my favorite trips was the overnight trip that I went on with NYU. I think that the Paris program would be greatly enhanced if there were more trips offered, even if students had to pay a little extra for them. I also think that it would be nice if NYU tried to integrate us more deeply into the Parisian community. I.e. we could have events with Parisian students studying at Parisian universities, etc., so that we actually meet other French students studying in the city.