By: Maria McDonough, junior, Women’s Lacrosse
Hello from the city of love! Just about three weeks ago I arrived in Paris, France, and since then I have been overwhelmingly astounded by how incredible life is here. I am living in a very cute apartment with two other girls – an American student from Boston University and a Paris-native whose here to show us the ropes and help us if need be – and so far am loving every second of city living. In the short time since I arrived I have discovered countless things and enjoyed numerous experiences that have already changed my perspective on life and on myself. Sounds crazy but I guess growing up can actually be really exciting!
As an International Studies major who has to go abroad, I decided to not take the traditional approach and as a result have found myself here in Paris for two months as an intern! Four days a week from 8:30am to 5pm I work as an English and gym teacher at L’École de la Deuxième Chance, a school co-financed by the EU, the city of Paris, and the National Agency for Social Cohesion and Equal Opportunities. Its goal is to help young adults who didn’t receive a high school or college diploma adopt skill sets that can aid them in in the professional working world. So far I love it! The only hiccup for me is that everyone at the school speaks French the entire time and the only English words that are known consist of “Hello” and “How are you?”…which certainly makes my time challenging but entertaining and profitable since I have no choice but to work on my own language skills (they are in dire need of some care and attention). Good thing I love a good challenge!
When I am not at work I love to go out and explore all of what Paris has to offer. That means the food of course! I have discovered that it is almost law that you must buy a baguette or croissant from a boulangerie on the daily and that Nutella is even more delicious in Europe than in the US (if that’s even possible). However, more importantly, the French really do value their meals as a time for relaxing and socializing, as well as people watching, so if you want to go out to eat make sure you have a big chunk of free time! The relaxed style of living is an appreciated change of pace compared to the busy-bee atmosphere of being at college.
Being in Paris also makes it easier to travel to other places in Europe. Last weekend, some of my friends and I went to Geneva, Switzerland. There, we saw the Jet d’Eau Fontaine, swam in Lake Geneva, went to a Buddhist temple on top of a mountain, ate Swiss chocolate (it’s a must) and explored the city. Geneva helped me to discover that it’s truly okay to spend 6.50 Francs on delicious ice cream in a stunning and overpriced city if you really do want it. Despite still being on a college budget, there is no price for happiness!
I’ve already been here for three weeks but time has flown by. While I managed to see all of Paris tourist sites in my first weekend, seeing the Eiffel Tower light up at night or simply hanging out with friends by the Seine while the sun sets are experiences that never get old. The city’s parks and museums are incredible and the language barrier I sometimes face has led me to a valuable lesson: friendliness is an international language understood and appreciated by everyone. I can’t wait to see what the next several weeks have in store!