Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Home Sweet Home

Hello America! Whoa how time flies…but I am happy to say I am finally home from the Paris Study of Abroad trip.

Now to go over the rest of the trip….

The presentations went great! For all students I would say. During our dress rehearsal of presentations, it seemed little rough…but the final presentations were surprisingly not as nerve wrecking. The next day we returned to Chez Grace’s apartment. Where the guests that Grace invited had the opportunity to have one on one time with each student, where they got to ask any questions and get more information on the projects. After that night I felt like my voice was gone after talking to so many people. It was an amazing experience to be able to speak to different people with various backgrounds about my project. To recap about my project, it was focused on the differences of the social communication in America vs. the way people communicate in Europe. Most of the conversations led too, why society is sucked into their phones and other devices? There wasn’t any final conclusions to why, other than the fact that society is advertising so much where people feel the need to have these devices to keep in contact with with society as well as have the next new device that is out. 

Once all the hard work was complete, it was time to pack for Barcelona Spain! Even though my time there was short, I fell in love with Spain. Everything about it, as soon as I got off the airplane I already felt a change in culture compared to Paris. Everyone and everything seemed less stressful.  I did not do too much site seeing, but I really enjoyed relaxing.

After Spain and reuniting with the class, it was time to head out to Versailles. Prior to this class I really didn’t know too much about Versailles, other than the fact it was beautiful. We visited the Palace of Versailles, which was stunning that I cannot even explain the beauty into words.

Now I am here sitting in my room at home, not a palace…but my home sweet home.  Preparing to finish up my Literature and Art class. All that’s left is a presentation and the final paper. After that, my summer classes are finished and now it is time for fall semester! 

 Throughout this entire experience I feel that I have gained confidence in myself as well as learning some of my work habits under stressful conditions. Also I lost seven pounds from all of the walking around on this trip! Thank you so much Lawrence Technological University for giving me the opportunity to be apart of the Paris Study of Abroad Program! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

So Much to do...So Little Time!

Currently I have been in the Paris Study of Abroad program since July 29th; to be honest I am a little homesick. I broke my phone not to far into the trip, and the only unfortunate thing about class is that there is not a lot of break time…so yes…I am exhausted.

Even though I’m having some bad luck…I am in PARIS! Throughout my stay so far I have noticed a HUGE difference in the culture between America and Europe. Something even as common as getting groceries is not the easiest thing to do. After purchasing the groceries and depending on what store it is, they might give you a bag. Than you have to carry it on the metro and sometimes there are a lot of people, and lets just say it’s an experience.  Walking around and seeing all the Café’s I noticed that people are not constantly on their phones. Also not everyone has a smart phone…believe it or not! Not having a phone has been a breath of fresh air, every time I am out and about or out to eat I am not taking a picture of my food, or updating my status about where I am, or snap chatting.

Although I am not always posting about where I am, I can actually write a lot more about some of the experiences I had so far. I had the opportunity to visit some amazing landmarks,
and as a media communications major I do not understand the whole architecture aspect of it…but every building and garden is so beautiful.

I cannot forget to mention that I did visit the Eiffel Tower, a couple times actually! It is so gigantic, and there are many people there at all times of the day. I mentioned earlier in my blogs that I was planning to meet up with my really good friend Leonie. We decided to meet up at the Eiffel tower; it was not the smartest idea.  We both didn’t have phones to text with, so that made it even harder. When we finally found each other under the center of the Tower, it was great catching up with her. Even though we didn’t get to meet for a long time, it was incredible that after all these years we got to hangout at one of the most beautiful places in the world!

I also had the opportunity to see places like the Notre Dame Cathedral. As a little kid I have always dreamed of going there. Seeing it on the Disney movie, or in pictures online and now actually seeing it in person was unbelievable.

Throughout this abroad trip we also had the opportunity to go to Normandy. Which is extremely different from Paris. If I had to compare Paris to anywhere, I would say it’s a lot like New York City. Normandy is a lot smaller and calmer, and it was actually a nice get away from the liveliness of Paris. While in Normandy we went to the Omaha beaches. Although it was very beautiful, it was also heartbreaking to think about all the fighting that had happened there. Seeing thousands of tombstones was unbelievable. I am happy to see that the military is being represented, and the people who were there will not be forgotten.   

There is still so much more to see and not a lot of time left on this trip. I am very surprised I have not gotten a blister from all the walking. Next all of the classes will be presenting their projects that were assigned in beginning of the year. I am so nervous for presenting, we are displaying our work at Chez Grace’s apartment. Grace has been letting Lawrence Tech students present at her place for a couple years now, and she will be inviting important people over. So after all the stress of presenting is over, we will have a two-day break and I will be spending that break in Barcelona Spain! Until than I will be working hard on preparing for the presentation.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Settling in...

After all of the technical difficulties having a layover and what not, I am happy to say that I am finally in Paris, France! Getting off the plane in Paris was a little bit scary…everything was different including the smell. Not in a bad way, just something I am not used to. While I was on the airplane (for about 8 hours) I was practicing simple French words, so I didn’t seem like a rude American. Being able to say “Bonjour and merci” (hello and thank you) is very important!

Since we left at a late time back in Detroit, we made it to Paris early in the morning. Instead of going to relax for a bit we started a full day of touring. The professors were not lying when they said there was going to be a lot of walking. Getting to Cite Universitaire was a hike! We had to take the Metro, it is kind of like a subway. Getting through each metro with large luggage and trying to stay together with a group of people, was pretty tricky…(a few people got stuck a few times) but WE MADE IT! 

Cite Universitaire 
Over the course of the stay, there are three classes merged together as one. Which I am kind of curious to see how it will all work. Edward Orlowski is teaching Allied, Steven Rost is teaching Photography, and my Professor James Rodgers teaching Literature and Art. 

Before leaving for Paris, my class met 5 times prior to prepare for the course. So far in the class we have read; Americans in Paris Adam Gopnike, A Moveable Feast Ernest Hemingway, Tender Is the Night F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Notes of a Native Son James Baldwin. We have also analyzed art and music from Paris, and held class discussions and wrote papers about the thoughts that we had. While in Paris, each student is to pick something of interest to research during our stay. At the end of the trip, back at Lawrence Technological University, we will be presenting our research. I have chose to research the differences of the social communication in America vs. the way people communicate in Europe. 

Anyways.... now that I am finally here in Paris and settled in my dorm, I feel really independent. Yes, I have my classmates and professors around. But as I mentioned in my last blog, I have never been this far away from my family before on my own. Before I came, my family was prepping me a lot about being careful and watching what I say about my religion and what not. After being here for a couple days and doing a little bit of people watching. It really is hard to tell if people are actually here from Paris or not because it is so diverse here, like America. Honestly anywhere you go, you are going to find prejudice people...so I am not too worried. Well I am heading off to explore some more of Paris. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to ask!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Paris Jitters

I am going to PARIS in t-minus 10 days! There are so many things going through my mind. First of all I am taking 3 classes so I am a little stressed out about that, but I know that once I go to Paris…everything should start falling into place. Well before I go into my thoughts let me introduce myself…Hello my name is Rachel Sweet, I am a junior studying Media Communications and I am currently taking Foundations of American Experience, World Masterpieces 1 and the Paris class which is Literature and Art. (A LOT of reading)
The reason why I chose to study abroad to Paris, France this summer is really to experience more of the world and figure myself out a little more. I have never gone anywhere overseas without my family before, and I feel that this will be a huge growing experience for me. I also haven’t done much research on Paris, France so I am kind of just going with the flow and I am extremely nervous and excited about it. (Plus I don’t know any French) I really do not know what to expect! I keep asking everyone around for advice that I know that has studied abroad, and I feel that even though I am asking for all this advice…I really just need to experience it on my own.
I chose the summer program rather than a full semester program because I honestly don’t think I can handle being away from home for more than a month. But after this trip who knows what could happen! My flight is on July 28th at 9:35 pm; we will arrive in Paris at 11:30am the next day. (If the flights go as planned) We will be staying at Cite Universtaire in dorms there. My goals for while I’m in Paris is, just to experience and embrace a different culture, go to the Eiffel tower, play guitar outside somewhere public, and meet up with my best friend from high school that lives in Germany! These are small yet simple goals, and I’m sure that I will think of more goals while I’m there. As a Media Communications student going on an Architecture focused trip, I am going to try to embrace everything and maybe learn something new that I would have never learned if I have not decided to go on this trip.
 Who knows the people I will meet or the experiences I will go through! I am just so full with excitement and butterflies. I am literally staring at my suitcase and it is completely empty, I don’t even know where to start. You have to experience the world. Even if you don’t know what your getting yourself into. I can’t wait to break out of my Michigan bubble and see and experience Paris, France!