How to Show Off Your New City

Anne Coughenour
November 19, 2017
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Last month, in between all my midterms, exposés, and class excursions, I finally had friends who were also studying abroad in Europe come to visit me. It was a fantastic experience and I was so happy to see familiar faces. I learned a lot about being a guide and showing off a city at the same time. So here are a few tips on how to best show off your new city.

Make a plan. – You don’t need to plan every day down to every minute of every bathroom break. You ought to have a rough outline of what you want to do and in what order. First location A then location B, break for some food, and then continue on to location C. I found the best way to do this is by location, what is closest to the place you were at last? You can find good food anywhere (at least you can in Paris) so that shouldn’t be a determining factor. It’s also better than wandering aimlessly and hoping someone makes a decision on what to do next.

Translate, it will ease their minds. – Everyone who visited me did not speak French at all. If you’re staying in a country that speaks your native language then you don’t need to worry about this point. But for me and others in my situation, your visiting friends will likely not understand the overhead announcements, the cashiers, or the information on signs. It’s pretty obvious, but help them out. Read off the information to them. Repeat the cashier in a language your friends will understand. Give a summary of any announcements given. It feels much better when everyone is on the same page.

Pick them up and drop them off. – It’s annoying, it’s a “waste of time,” but it really is better if you go and get your friends from where they’re staying and dropping them off there at night. It will likely be out of your way but imagine if you were in their place. In the case of Paris, you’re in a big city that you don’t know at all, everything is spirally and confusing, you don’t speak the language, there’s a good chance your phone won’t work without Wi-Fi… it’s not a comfortable situation. You can afford to lose a little sleep and spend a bit more time making your friends feel more at ease.

Add on. – Being in Paris everyone who visited me came with only two or three places they wanted to see: Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, without fail. True you can spend HOURS at the Louvre if you really want to, but the city has so much more to offer than the biggest ticket places. If you know your friends well enough, pick a few more places that you know they would like and suggest you take them there too. My friends almost liked the places I chose more than the places they chose themselves.

Of course, there are about 1001 different tips one could give to make the experience of guiding friends around the city of your study abroad better, but these are the ones that really stuck out in my mind. Now it’s time to go and find more things to show off before my parents arrive! Allons-y!

Anne Coughenour

<p style="margin-bottom:12.0pt">I am the younger of two and the only one to study abroad. I have never had a bloody nose and I am immensely proud of that. I have always been very creative and am very excited to study abroad!<span style="text-autospace:none"><span style="font-size:16.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times&quot;,serif"> </span></span></span></p>

2017 Fall
Home University:
Central College
Holland, MI
French Language
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