Bonjour tout le monde!

I write this blog post on a little bit of a sad note as it is my last post about Paris and my time abroad. I cannot believe how fast time has flown by; it feels like I just got off the plane at Charles De Gaulle Airport last week! I started this blog with photos of my birthday at the Eiffel Tower, and now it only seems right to end it with a photo of the Eiffel Tower on a beautiful spring day.

Since my last post about Giverny, I have been all over France. I’ve visited Nice, Cannes, Monaco (all in the South of France); Epernay and Avize in Champagne, and just recently to my host family’s house in Carcassonne in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France. I feel so accomplished, as one of my main goals of studying abroad in Paris was to not only be a local of Paris, but also to explore France as extensively as possible … which I feel that I have done!

With less than 12 days here in Paris, I am so sad to leave. I will miss the simplicity of the metro, the omnipresent scent of freshly baked bread wafting through the streets, the ever chic Parisians in their high fashion, speaking French daily, my host family – especially my host mother’s cooking, my friends at IES BIA, my art history class weekly at the Musee d’Orsay, the cafes, macaroons and almond croissants, seeing the Eiffel Tower daily, the winding curving streets and beautiful boulevards, and did I mention macaroons?

IES BIA has been a great program, with field trips to Champagne country, Normandy, and various Chateaux throughout France. The staff and teachers have been incredibly helpful with all my questions about traveling and France. All of my classes have been very interesting, and I have made so many friends from different universities across the U.S. through these classes.

I am grateful to have studied abroad during the spring semester as the 2012 Presidential Elections are currently happening and this has allowed me to not only know everything about the French government, but to also get to experience the French culture and history that much more.

After last week’s re-entry session to the U.S. hosted by our director at IES, we were given a list of skills that we have now acquired during our time abroad. I never really thought that I myself have changed, but reading through the list I realize that living abroad has changed who I am as a person and given me new skills and qualities. From this list, I feel that I have matured, become more independent and self-sufficient, open-minded, I can relate to many different people, communicate despite obstacles, and most importantly adapt easily to new environments. All skills I will need for this upcoming last year at SMU and the future beyond.

Despite leaving Paris, I do miss SMU terribly. With much anticipation, I cannot wait to return to campus to see our beloved familiar Boulevard and Dallas Hall, see all my friends and teachers, walk through Meadows’ halls to class, going to football games on the weekends, and being back in the Mustang community.

If I haven’t already said this, studying abroad has been one of the best decisions of my college career and I am so happy that I did it. One quote that has stuck with me throughout my travels and time abroad is from Ernest Hemingway, who once said, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man [or woman], then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

Next to deciding to become a Mustang, I would say studying abroad has greatly defined a part of my life that I will, as Hemingway states, take with me for the rest of my life.

Au Revoir Paris et tout le monde!