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Bienvenue à Paris

I decided not to do my first post upon my arrival to France but rather on the day I started my studies. I figured that a post made too early on my journey will be filled with a list of cultural differences, things I found odd, and just things you can easily read on "things to expect in France" blogs. But it has been a little over two weeks since my arrival at Charles De Gaulle airport and my French experience has been incredible so far.

I came open-minded, ready to take in as much as French culture as possible and quickly learn the Parisian ways in order to blend in and not stand out as the typical American student studying abroad. Did it involve an early morning café crème and people watching? You bet it did.

After a brief stop to my temporary chambre de bonne to drop of my luggage, I took a stroll on the lovely Parisian streets admiring the Haussmannian architecture on the Grand Boulevards and the small, narrow streets with hidden boulangeries. My senses were in heaven. The smell of fresh bread, street musicians playing the accordion, properly aged cheeses, Parisian women in their summer dresses, my body could not cope with everything Paris had to offer.

Despite it's beauty, loneliness and homesickness was inevitable. I didn't know anyone in the city and school hadn't started so I was thrown into a foreign place with no one to share it with. That quickly changed as I forced myself out of my comfort zone and met fellow exchange students. It was nice to meet people who, despite being from all over the world, felt the same things you were feeling. I immediately felt comfortable around these people and found myself with a group of friends to explore, drink, and experience wonderful memories with.

As for Sciences Po, it definitely lives up to its reputation. A highly selective and well-known university in France, it boasts modern facilities, the best faculty, and a broad range of subjects and topics available to its students. I am takings classes such as the Economics of the EU, Risks in Financial Markets, History of French Art, International Trade and Globalization, The Business of Wine in France (definitely my favorite course), and a French language class.

It has certainly been an eventful two weeks and I look forward to many more amazing experiences to come. I plan on doing as much traveling in France and Europe as my schedule permits and will definitely write about it.

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