I can’t believe it has been almost two weeks since the program ended, and one week since I’ve been back in the US. This trip felt simultaneously like it went slowly and like it went by in the blink of an eye, maybe because we did so much in such a short amount of time. This experience has been a whirlwind of amazing people, illuminating museum trips, delicious pastries, and lots and lots of walking. I do not think I have ever walked this much in my life, ranging anywhere from six to twelve miles a day for a month.
While this was not necessarily the longest study abroad experience, it has had a lasting impact on me. I definitely see lots of growth within, personally, academically, and professionally. On a personal level, this month living in Paris showed me how independent I can be. I was not afraid to explore the city on my own, and was able to maneuver it. Even if I got a little lost, I made the best of it, appreciating what was around me, and eventually figuring out my way home (I quickly learned as long as I found the Seine River, I could find my way home). It helped me gain more confidence in myself that I can thrive in new, unfamiliar experiences. It has also helped me get (mostly) over my fear of speaking french. I was put into situations where I acted as a translator (although at a very amateur level) for my group of friends. This sense of responsibility made me feel like I had to step up and speak. Academically, I got to study a subject, literature, that I usually never get to in the Pitt Business School as a marketing major. Professionally, living in Paris for a month only fueled my passion for fashion, and showed that I really am on the right career track for me. I found inspiration all over Paris. All the fashion museums I had the opportunity to see, like the Yves Saint Laurent Museum and the Maison Margiela exhibit at the Museum of Fashion, proved to be such amazing sources of encouragement. Even just the street style I saw everywhere made me so excited.
My biggest takeaway is how important it is to experience and appreciate another culture. It helps expand your horizons and see things you might not have ever witnessed before, also expanding your way of thinking. It is also important, especially from a business perspective to be able to take appreciation a step further and learn to assimilate into it and truly understand another culture’s way of thinking. This can only help with future international business ventures, as being able to understand their culture will be vital in achieving success abroad. I am so thankful I was able to live in another culture and learn firsthand how to do this myself.
Paris, you will forever be in my heart. This has been such an amazing experience I have been so lucky to have and I cannot wait until the next time I get to visit. Who knows maybe one day I will even live there!
Until then, Au Revoir Paris!