Two weeks City Lights

Two Weeks in the City of Lights

Student Recalls Time Spent in Paris

Two weeks City Lights

Picture this: You are sitting outside a small French cafe at one of their tables on the sidewalk.  You have an espresso and a croissant and hundreds of people are passing by, speaking French.  The sun is shining and there is a beautiful river across the street.  You are in Paris.  “One of my favorite things about Paris is all the cafes lining the streets,” said Kim Kravitz, junior at the University.  

According to the Assistant Director of Study Abroad, Robyn Asaro, students can sign up to study abroad by printing out an application on the University website. The Study Abroad page includes previous student videos, photo galleries, stories, information with dates, deadlines and frequently asked questions.

Traveling is something that must be appreciated.  I have always been sure to appreciate every minute of my travels.  I am fortunate enough to have been able to visit Paris, France.  During my two week stay in Paris, I experienced so much culture, including, but not limited to the fashion, cuisine and language.  The city is very old and has so much history. “When I went to Paris I never wanted to leave.  The city is so charming,” said Ruth Myers, junior at the University.

Studying abroad is a beneficial experience.  The opportunity to study abroad can increase confidence as well as make a student more marketable to employers. It has proven to be a positive on a resume because only 1 in 100 students get the chance to study abroad. It allows a person to stand out from peers and be more aware of other cultures and values. “Studying abroad is a now or never opportunity. 99.9 percent of students say it was the best decision they made during their college years,” said Asaro.

My hotel was two blocks from Notre Dame Cathedral, also known as Our Lady of Paris in French, is one of the most magnificent buildings I have ever seen.  Notre Dame is truly underrated.  This massive cathedral took my breath away when I began to see it in plain sight the first time.  It was so large, and stood practically alone in the center of Paris.  “Notre Dame was gorgeous.  It is captivating,” said Myers.  

Along Notre Dame, and through the rest of the city, is the Sienne.  The Sienne was by far my favorite thing about Paris.  The Sienne is a river that runs through the city of Paris, below the streets but in plain view.  There are 32 bridges throughout Paris that cross over the Seine, connecting the city. Although during the day it is simply a river running through the city, at night, the Sienne comes alive.  Boats travel around the city allowing travelers to see Paris in an amazing way.  People gather around the river with wine and musical instruments, singing and dancing, enjoying the moonlight along the water.  “My favorite night spent in Paris was the night my friends and I danced to live music down by the Sienne,” said Kravitz.   

I visited Paris in May, a beautiful time for that part of France.  The weather is warm, in the 60’s, and there is hardly any rain.  Being able to walk a couple blocks from my hotel to the Sienne, with the sun shining and the water sparkling, was one of the simplest joys I have ever experienced. 

The Champs Élysées, was another beautiful part of Paris that I had the pleasure of visiting.  It is the Fifth Avenue of Paris.  The vegetation lining the block is perfect, the people are fashionable and chic and the stores are fabulous.  Although you may not want to max out your credit card by shopping, there is nothing like walking down the fantastic street and seeing the Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon.  It is surrounded by a 12 lane circle that is so busy that tourists must cross under a tunnel to reach the Arc.  “The tunnel on the way to the Arc de Triomphe is so creepy, and then suddenly you see sunlight and there it is, bigger than you could imagine,” said Myers. 

Now, I haven’t forgotten the Eiffel Tower.  This structure is over 984 feet tall, and it is impossible to describe efficiently to someone who hasn’t seen it in person.  Many believe that the Eiffel Tower is overrated; it is anything but.  There is nothing like seeing the tower for the first time.  When I saw it, a smile spread across my face, and I knew I had chosen the right place to complete my studying abroad.  “I felt so liberated when I stood at the top of the Eiffel Tower.  It felt more like the top of the world,” said Kravitz.  If you haven’t seen the Eiffel Tower, add it to your bucket list (now).

Another place tourists must visit while in Paris is the Louvre.  It is one of the largest museums in the world, and it is truly regal.  It is constructed in a “U” shape, and in the center is a large glass pyramid that allows visitors to look down into the museum from the outside.  “Our group took the coolest picture in front of the glass pyramid, it was stunning,” said Myers. 

The building is well over 600,000 square feet and features almost 35,000 pieces from hundreds of time periods and places all over the world, including the “Mona Lisa.”  “The ‘Mona Lisa’ was so small!  But it was so cool seeing it up close,” said Kravitz.  Even if you are not interested in art, I guarantee you will never forget the Louvre.  It also features a beautiful area surrounding the building.  It is right along the Sienne, where there are several ornate bridges to be seen, and lots of little shops along the way.  The area surrounding the Louvre is quite worth the trip itself.  “I got all of my best souvenirs on the side streets near the Louvre,” said Myers.   

There are so many more places in Paris that are incredible and hold a special place in my heart.  Paris has earned itself the label of a cliché, but it doesn’t deserve it.  This city is spectacular and should be seen at least once in everyone’s lifetime. It has something to offer for everyone, culture, famous art, unique cuisine, beautiful language, fascinating people and so much more.   

According to Asaro, the University has study abroad programs in Italy, England, Australia and Spain. However, students can travel anywhere with an outside program.