by Dolores Juarez | EDUCO Paris, Spring 2020
I think the photo I shared best captures the essence of my study abroad experience. While it was cut short, I thoroughly enjoyed every second I had. I loved to explore Paris and France as a whole. Although I did not get to do as much exploring as I would have liked, due to our early return, I still managed to see a lot of France. My favorite part about being abroad was just walking around the cities and town. I felt almost at home when I would stroll through the streets. I did not feel like a tourist. That was one of my main goals for my abroad experience. It was just to be comfortable in a foreign place and acquire the skills to navigate on my own.
My host city was Paris. I loved going on walks and navigating through unknown streets. Sure, the metro was great, but it was underground, and I could not see the great city that I was in. Walking was the best way to see the city. One of my favorite things to do was to explore the different neighborhoods. I would just pick an arrondissement, take the metro, and get off at a random stop. Then I would just walk. Not like a speed walk, more like a stroll. I would look at every building, stop by every shop that caught my eye, pick up a pastry from a bakery. I would walk until my legs got tired. Then I would find a park. Oh, how I miss the beautiful jardins. I would pick a bench and just take in the scenery; I would just take in the moment. No matter how many times I saw the Eiffel Tower, I still could not believe I was in France. I was exploring uncharted territory.
I would have loved to share a picture of Parisian streets, but I could not find any picture of me walking around Paris. I would usually just walk alone. Not for any particular reason other than it was my favorite thing to do. I felt so safe. Even at night. I loved walking at night. The city came alive in a different way. I did not bother to take pictures of my strolls because it was the same beautiful city I saw every day. The Eiffel Tower was right outside my window. I always looked at it before I went to sleep. It was always going to be there when I woke up. I have felt the freest during my study abroad trip. I was on my own and I had absolutely no problem with it. I found peace and tranquility, even with all the noise of a busy city.