I have never experienced two months that have challenged me more than my past two months in Paris. Between cultural differences, acclimating to professional work life (9-18:00 work day), and trying to make time to explore the city, this experience has taught me more than I could have ever anticipated.
Reflecting back, here are some impressions of my beautiful time in Paris:
- The french love their cheese, soirées, flowers
- A smile in Paris = an invitation for strangers to approach you
- People put on their “metro stare” and if they don’t it’s because they’re foreign
- Dogs don’t use leashes
- People don’t clean up after their pets
Here is some advice to my two-month younger self:
- GROCERY SHOP. YOU CANNOT AFFORD 25 EURO MEALS 2x a day!
- Touristy stuff is great, but the best finds are tucked away
- The Latin Quarter is everything.
- Strike up conversations with strangers, because they won’t approach you
- Take advantage of student discounts more–bring your ID everywhere!
- Do thorough research on the company/future company’s BEFOREHAND so you know what the building/work environment is like
Here are some take-aways from my first work experience:
- 9-5’s are difficult, so make sure that you take frequent pauses and walk around
- Small teams are nice, but larger teams are better
- NGO’s are very rewarding, but require a significant amount of contribution and autonomy from each team member
- Your coworkers will become your best friends
NGO’s offer experiences and challenges that many large enterprises do not. They require contacting more sponsors, seeking alternative funding, and cutting costs at every possible point. While I faced many high’s and many low’s, I would not change my two months in Paris for anything. Thank you to Pitt Business for providing me with the opportunity to grow, learn, and professionally challenge myself in one of the best cities in the world.