I leave for Paris in 10 days. For 5 months.
I decided before starting my freshman year in college that I was going to study abroad. Where? Of course my initial decision was Paris; I mean I’d be surprised if everyone who goes abroad doesn’t have a fleeting thought of falling in love under the Eiffel Tower. That is, before deciding on studying art in Florence, pretending their lives are out of a Harry Potter novel in London, laying under the sun in Brisbane, or partying in Amsterdam… but yeah, I guess my thoughts of Paris were more than fleeting.
Not to say I didn’t look into other options. Of course I had a moment of language desperation and considered London. And then another moment or education desperation and (practically) decided on Aix-en-Provence which appeared to have classes that would better transfer back into my major. And since Champlain College has campuses abroad, I almost took the easy way out, traveled with members of my school with guaranteed transfer credits and studied le quebec quoi in Montreal or drank my way through the pubs of Dublin.
But I didn’t. I took 4 summer classes and got 7 credits of AP classes transferred over so that I wouldn’t have to worry about traveling somewhere and taking classes that wouldn’t necessarily be useful to my major. But considering it looks like my credits from Paris will transfer back fine, I may even be able to graduate early now. And travel abroad. So wait, when did I decide for this to happen?
No clue. Sure, I took 5 years of French in junior high & high school. Yeah, I love fashion and Vogue Paris is probably my favorite of all the Vogues. And duh, I watched Carrie live fabulously in the city during the Sex and the City finale – yes, her contempt it fed my love. But honestly? I have absolutely no clue when I made the decision in my mind that I would be studying in another country where I barely know the language and absolutely don’t know my classmates. Or the streets. Or the pubic transportation system. Or, well, anything.
I guess there were moments during accepted student day and orientation of listening to senior students describe lovingly the best times of their college career spent abroad, and others explaining how extremely they regret not taking the trip. I mean, you never hear someone saying they regret their time abroad, but you almost always hear others expressing their undying regrets of not going.
So I guess that was it. Realizing I didn’t want to have any regrets in college. And maybe wanting to be in the city during Paris Fashion Week had a little to do with it. And that’s it, now I’m finishing up my summer internship at the Emily Post Institute, ending my days at Stella Mae (at least for this fall), and actually preparing for packing my closet into one suitcase and a backpack. How are you supposed to pack for August through December in one suit case? My closet can’t even fit the two seasons.
Wish me luck on this (impossible) endeavor, and expect my next post to involve everything I wish I’d known before starting this process (hint: visas are not fun). I’m going to say that this will be my diary abroad, and that I will write at least something every day. Maybe now I’ll have to hold myself to it.