A few days ago I was talking with a friend about abroad experiences, since I was about to embark on mine to Paris and he had spent a year living in Paris. Of course he had suggestions on where to go, what to do, and the infamous speech by everyone who has been abroad saying “it is the best time of your life”. This made me wonder what is it about studying and traveling abroad that makes everyone say this phrase? Why do we have this love affair with traveling? People travel for all sorts of reasons so there is no single answer, but one conclusion we made was that people travel because it enlivens the soul. It’s refreshing and gives you a new perspective on the world and your place in it. By being in new surroundings and facing new challenges you can discover parts of yourself that you didn’t know were there and make connections with people that you would never cross paths with otherwise. Traveling is more than just going beautiful places that you take pictures of to show your friends back home, it’s about the human experience and discovering more about yourself and more about this world.
Preparing for my trip to Paris I started reading the book “Sixty Million French Men Can’t be Wrong,” which is basically about what makes the French, so French. One of the main points they make in this book is how Europe, particularly France, is made of layers and layers of history built up over time. Qualities from different eras exist simultaneously in the same cities and you can see something completely modern next to something ancient. The French value their history so much because who are we without history? How can we know where we are going if we do not know where we came from? This made me think that maybe we travel old parts that may have been lost or forgotten as well as new parts about ourselves.
Paris is filled with history, but it is also always changing. Attending orientation with IES they told us that in speaking French all the time and immersing ourselves into the French culture and daily life we might find ourselves creating a new identity for ourselves: new, french identity. Walking through the city, and taking advantage of as many opportunities as I can with IES I feel myself discovering this new identity little by little and can feel the mixture of old and new existing simultaneously.
To think about: “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” --Leonardo da Vinci
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<p>Hi, I'm Marguerite Mannix, a current Art History student at the University of Texas at Austin. I'm a free spirited, photographer, writer, and lover of music, art and adventure. I consider myself somewhat of a nomad because I was born in NYC, grew up in Texas, went to boarding school in California, travel during the summer and am basically never in one place too long. I am so excited to study abroad in Paris this summer and share my stories and photos with you on this blog! Enjoy!!</p>