I began my adventure by saying goodbye, Houston and bonjour, France!

The flight to Paris is eight hours long, which I hoped to sleep through, but to my surprise I was not able to sleep at all and found myself watching four of the 300 movies offered. Yes, 300 movies! They have now substituted the usual three featured movies to 300 movies that you can choose at any time. Not only that, but you have the option to fast-forward through the parts you don’t like, pause it if someone talks to you and choose any language.

Once in Paris I had an hour layover before my flight to Nice, where orientation was going to be held. The flight from Paris to Nice is fairly short, one hour long. In Nice, the whole group finally got to meet – we are 18 girls, not a single boy.

I am the only senior in the group, and I came to France for my last semester of college. Most people ask me why I chose to study abroad for my last semester instead of staying with my friends. Well, the answer is simple; I might never have the opportunity to live in Paris again. This is my third study abroad program with SMU (I have previously done SMU in China and SMU in Spain), so if it’s not obvious already, I love to study abroad! I have already completed all my hours for my majors, and all I needed were a few elective hours. What better place to take electives than Paris, France? Not only do I get to live in a beautiful city, but most of my classes are in famous museums such as the Louvre and Musee D’Orsay.

Nicole4.jpgBeautiful Nice

Orientation was held here, and we were taught numerous facts of history, art and, of course, French culture. The goal of orientation is to get us in tune with the French culture and to get rid of our jet-lag by doing study trips around the area.

Located in the south of France in the famous region Cote D’Azur is an amazing city full of history. This Mediterranean city is located between Cannes and Monaco. Although I was extremely jet-lagged (especially since I didn’t get to sleep during the flight), I was anxious to see what this city had to offer.

Nic1.jpgNice was founded by the Greeks, colonized by Romans and later disputed by the Counts of Provence and Savoy. It was not until 1860 that Nice was incorporated definitely into France.

As I walked through the old narrow streets, it became apparent that their Greek and Italian heritage was still very present today. Nice has more of a northern Italian facade than a French one. Most of the big houses are called villas and have a Mediterranean architecture. Street names are written om French and in the ancient language of Nissard. Today the language of Nissard is still being taught in the Nice school system in order to preserve part of their culture and heritage.

Nicole2.jpgNice is also the home of the Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art. This museum is very similar to the MOMA in New York City. Andy Warhol’s Diamond Dust Shoes can be found here along with the works of Yves Klein and others. The art is so colorful and weird that even non-art lovers will find it fun and interesting. I highly suggest visiting the museum!