Kaitlyn Lannan, European Union Studies, Fall 2014
I returned from Paris a little over two months ago, but it feels like just yesterday. I was lucky enough to stay in Paris a few extra days when my parents came to visit at the end of the program. My family had never been to Paris before, and it was great to see Paris through their eyes as a culmination of my experience there. Doing traditional tourist activities like going to the Louvre with them helped me to appreciate my last visits to the landmarks of Paris. We also visited London and Dublin after leaving Paris, so my goodbye to Paris was less abrupt.
Showing my parents my favorite cafés and spots in Paris made me feel like a real local—even though I was only there for around 4 months, I feel that I truly integrated into French culture. I have a deeper appreciation for the French way of life than I would have if I had been a tourist there for only a few days. This experience helped to strengthen my love of travel and I would love to live in Europe again for an extended period of time. My weekend trips combined with trips throughout France helped me to learn more about different ways of life throughout the world, and I appreciate those differences more now.
Since coming back to the United States, I have caught myself thinking about the next time that I can return to Paris, and even researching weekend trips around Chicago. I also realized how much I improved in the French language and hope to continue advancing my knowledge of French through classes at Northwestern and getting certified at the French Alliance of Chicago. On the plane back from Dublin, I was already thinking about when I can go back to Europe–I hope that I can return to Paris sooner than later!