There are a lot of great things about studying abroad in France. I could suck up to my professors and say the academics are what sold me, but studying abroad has a lot more to offer than classes. Be it something as simple as very high quality cheese everywhere at low prices, as complex as learning a new language, or as fun as meeting new friends, studying abroad is limitless.
Europe is small. Europeans like to travel. They have airplanes. You do the math. You can seriously fly from Paris to Oslo, Caen to London, or Helsinki to Rome for as little as $30. Getting a taste of tickets that inexpensive changes you at your core (ok that might be a bit dramatic). As you might expect, though, I’m trying to do the impossible and see an entire continent in one semester.
I recently got back from my one week winter break (1 of 2 week long breaks) in which I took 10 days to see Zurich, Switzerland, Milan and Rome, Italy, and Vatican City. To say it was amazing, eye opening, and beyond fulfilling does not even serve it justice.
I saw some of the best museums in the world, such as the Pinacoteca di Brera (Milan), the Vatican museums, and the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana (Milan), to name a few. The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana currently has the largest collection of Da Vinci’s work in the world, and the others house artifacts ranging from pre-historic cities, high renaissance tableaus, and modern art. All in all I think I saw nearly ten incredible museums.
On top of the museums, I got a taste of Swiss and Italian culture, rode the train through the Alps, navigated countries that spoke neither French nor English, and experienced the “aperitivo.” Between leaving work and going home many Italians will meet for a drink and a bite to eat. The aperitivo started in Milan as peanuts with a drink, but developed into a full buffet of delicious food. This is where happy hour took root.
This blog references stumbling because as with any two 20 years olds traveling around Europe, there are bound to be some hiccoughs. Be it the missed train, the ride that never arrived, ending up in a fancy restaurant way underdressed, or figuring out how to navigate a country of people with whom you cannot communicate, there were hiccoughs. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Studying abroad gives you so many opportunities that aren’t visible at its surface. My winter break wasn’t just a trip full of Michael Angelo, Da Vinci, Matisse, Roman ruins, and Swiss Alps; it was a series of adventures within an adventure that taught me lessons and brought to life what I learned in the classroom. Being a Transy student doesn’t stop at the classroom door or even at the airport terminal; it leads you around the world, sparking your curiosity and bringing to fruition ideas that are limited by classroom walls.