Reflections on Trinity's Paris Study Abroad Program

MARY SULLIVAN ’19
CONTRIBUTING WRITER
This August, I packed my life up and sent it in two (oversized and overweight, sorry Mom) suitcases to Paris. My French is horrible and I’ve never really left the United States before, so why I thought I could handle living in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language is beyond me. Here I am in four week – and it’s amazing. It’s so cliché to say that going abroad will change your life, but I can already see why this experience is so important. I’ve lived my whole life in the same bedroom, in the same house, in the same small town where everyone experienced the same things. I had never gone more than three weeks without seeing my parents, and I’ve never lived farther than three minutes from my best friend. Then suddenly I moved into a chic city where everyone carries baguettes and drinks wine like it’s water, not that I am complaining about the latter. Here I am of age to drink and it isn’t weird to wear heels to class. Being in France has taught me just how different other cultures are while also forcing myself to truly live on my own for the first time. Abroad has also brought me closer to Trinity students I would never have met otherwise while also meeting other students from around the world.
Paris is also full of history dating much farther back than American history, and as an Art History major, the artwork housed by this city is second to none. The United States has a powerful, but short history while the narrative of Paris spans a millennium and constitutes the most fascinating stories of Europe. Three weeks ago, I went to a chateau that dated back to the 2 A.D. – you just can’t get that in the United States. All of this having been said, the most important thing that abroad has taught me, was how much I love and miss Trinity. I miss the ease, the comfort, and the environment of Trinity. By the end of sophomore year, I – and many of my friends – felt that we needed a break from Trinity for a while. Kind of an ‘I-love-you-but-I-need-space’ sort of relationship. I had felt that my days at Trinity had become repetitive, and now living in Paris where everything is new and different yet slightly scary, I am looking forward to that day where I step back onto campus. While I’m falling in love with Paris, I’m falling back in love with Trinity, which I believe will make my last three semesters there that much more wonderful. Until that day Trinity, à bientôt.

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