So it’s two weeks…14 days until I’m headed there! I don’t know about you, but spending a year in Paris…I’m just as excited as I am scared. The right word may be anxious, actually. This may sound funny, but my first concern arose after watching the movie Taken. It’s all just a coincidence that it happened in Paris, right? And, the girls didn’t exactly make smart choices from the beginning. But honestly, that’s a very realistic situation. Having been an expat kid for 10 years, I’ve come to find keeping these things helpful for us students who are about to spend a good amount of time in a foreign country:
- Insurance/social security (Local and home)
- Emergency contacts stored on your phone, or better yet, memorized (For when your phone doesn’t work or when you are without it)
- Know the landmarks (I’ve spent a good deal of my time abroad and moving around, so I stopped memorizing street names – it gets too confusing when you’re trying to get down all the specific addresses in three different countries. I find it easier to remember the landmarks since it helps me, visually, to know where I’m headed.)
- Know your basics in local lingo! This is self-explanatory haha
Before traveling to a new place, I always like to familiarize myself with it: local weather, news, transportation, cuisine…etc. I’ve traveled quite a bit and I’ve found that the quickest and easiest way is to browse through TripAdvisor! Totally love it! You can choose to read or scan through the comments/reviews, browse through some candid photos, and check out the forums/discussion boards. You will be surprised to find the amount of information on there, especially the discussion boards. People talk about things like getting your daily groceries, how to use the eurorail…etc. I’ve been planning my year abroad for a while, so I had the time to pick up a copy of Lonely Planet’s Paris guide. There’s nothing like waking up, making yourself that much needed cup of cappuccino, and envisioning yourself in that beautiful city as you read. I find it an enjoyable (and quick) read. It breaks down the districts in a well-organized way; it has even planned out walking routes by district! My favorite section is “places to eat.” Yes, I’m a foodie, but oh man, when you’re about to be in a country known for good cheeses, wine, and almost everything else…my foodie instincts and needs are already at its height. That cheese soufflé right there – definitely on the top of my list! My mouth is watering, and I can already feel the soufflé dissolving in my mouth. I also love studying the photographs of the museums and local streets. It gets me prepared for when I encounter the real deal. Before I went to Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica, I spent a good amount of time online reading about it and looking at photos (I highly recommend visiting Italy while you’re in Europe). But omg, being there, physically there…there’s no doubt that it will be a different experience, but I didn’t expect the experience to be so personal, marveling, and reveling – a literal rush of adrenaline. I loved that feeling of being completely blown out of the water. Sounds weird, but I have an affinity for art, architecture, and culture (if you’re an international student, I think you’ll agree with me that the last one pretty much comes naturally), so I plan to thoroughly indulge myself during my time in Paris.
What do you look forward to the most for your time in Paris? What are some things at the top of your list to do there? Maybe we can check off that list together!