How exactly am I feeling about studying abroad in about a week? To put it simply: I am terrified and ecstatic all at the same time.
My name is Tyler Benavides, I am 20 years old, a soon-to-be junior at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and I am a Marketing major also minoring in English. The whole Marketing major thing can explain why I chose the Paris Beginning Language and Marketing Program, along with my wonderful love for France and its culture. I took four years of French in high school and I would like to think I have retained a pretty decent amount of what I learned, and am extremely ready to put that knowledge to heavy use for the first time in my life! Speaking of first times, this is also the first time I will ever be traveling alone, hence the terrified aspect of my feelings mentioned above. Facing the unknown is always a scary thing; it is driven by anxiety and parasitic “what-if” thoughts of what could go wrong, and although I have endured that part of my decision making well, it still has me afraid of what possibilities can happen. But that is a part of our human nature to overanalyze all the negative stuff! I push past all of the cloudy thoughts that I am almost certain will dissipate when I land in Paris, and think of the positives and the enriching experience that I am surely to gain from this next month and a half of my life. I am incredibly excited to face such an eclectic city as Paris with its landmarks in history, in literature, in art, and in film. I cannot wait to discover all of the stories that flow throughout the city, both old and new. It is my goal to learn more than just marketing skills, primarily it is my goal to reflect a culture so unique and enticing that it will radiate out of me by the time I depart Paris.
But first I have to prepare to depart Chicago with everything I could need to get by in a foreign country for a month and a half. In a city such as Paris, France, it will not be difficult to obtain any serious needs or forgotten toiletries from back home. Fretting about forgetting the smallest thing is not worth the stress, in fact, just think that if it does happen, it forces you to have your first experience engaging in your new surroundings. It can serve as the beginning of a learning experience! I already have a few things in mind that I am definitely going to bring with me which are:
- An array of clothes for all possible weather and social situations
- A pair of shoes that I will attach memories with
- A bag or space in my suitcase to bring parts of Paris back with me
I have stated that I am minoring in English, which hints at the fact that I love to read, and I could not imagine going anywhere without at least one hobby of mine, and in a city renowned for its literary culture, how could I not bring books to curl up in cafes with? The next thing relates to practicality and common sense: everyone needs clothes for when it rains, if there’s a fancy occasion, and if there’s a spontaneous cold day. Coming from Chicago, the weather can go through all four seasons in a single week, so better to be safe than sorry! The importance of having a special pair of shoes to share this trip with is more of a sentimental thing for me. I used to wear a pair of beloved white Converse with me since the beginning of high school to half way through college and they have been there with me through so many adventures and travels. They are sadly worn down, and so now new memories can begin with the next pair of shoes I choose for this trip. Finally, the extra space or bag for bringing souvenirs or whatever I find back home is especially important because it is inevitable that I will come back with more than I brought. So again, this is more of a practical assumption.
As I inch closer to the day of my departure, I am growing increasingly excited, and I cannot wait to share my experiences and learning with all of you. I look forward to shedding my fears and anxiety, and focusing on the growth that this traveling will bestow upon me, and hopefully as you follow along with me through my journey, it can inspire yours!
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<p>Hey, my name is Tyler! I am in the Paris - Beginning Language and Marketing program, studying Global Marketing. I am obsessed with the art and culture in this beautiful city of Paris, and want to spread the beauty to all that will take it. Join me in my adventures inside and outside of the classroom!</p>