Paris is Reflected in Me

Tyler Benavides
June 28, 2017

It is almost time to say goodbye to the City of Love. Tomorrow is the last day of class, filled with a French final and a marketing presentation. I’m trying to figure out how it all flew by so quickly, but I believe it is just something we’re not capable of realizing as it’s happening. We’re too busy enjoying the moment to care. I think it’s how we get the most out of the experience anyway.

It has hit me today just how much I’ve learned in the past six weeks about the broadest array of things. It also happens without you even noticing. Besides the classic marketing and French, I’ve learned about a culture that shares some base similarities to mine, but also stresses some major differences that took some getting used to. I’ve witnessed the repercussions of current events in the world peek at the corners of this city, and I’ve watched both scary and beautiful events in Europe as a whole unfold while taking up residence here. It is truly important and eye opening to be paying attention to the news and what’s going on around you in whatever the country you’re staying in is and connecting it back to home. You’d be amazed at the different perspectives your two countries have on one another and how their problems share their similarities and differences. I’ve learned about the opinions of the French on Americans, and it isn’t the stereotypical distaste that so people and movies have discussed in the past; they do like us even if it may not appear on their faces.

This knowledge has pushed me to grow mentally and emotionally. I feel like the version of me that is departing Paris is stronger and bolder than the girl who first arrived. That’s exactly how it should feel. I made myself get out of my comfort zone every single day. I forced myself to communicate with local people in a language foreign to me, I pushed myself out the door to explore this old but new to me city all on my own, I told myself to push the loneliness aside as I thought about how I had never lived on my own before until now. Study abroad is not always constant fun, but cultivates these personal challenges that are tailored just for you. It is almost like a secret that they don’t tell you about before you arrive in your city; you’re meant to discover what you need to improve upon within yourself and you’re responsible for supporting those improvements.

So, my third class that I took in Paris seemed to be a class about myself. Learning about myself has been the most rewarding experience of all, and I feel like if you hadn’t discovered at least one new thing about yourself then you may as well have failed the entire study abroad experience. When you branch out of your own nest and across the globe, you become a global citizen. It is our job to figure out what our places in this world are and how we fit into global society once we become a part of it. I know that for myself, I want to travel more and explore the different environments all over the world. I had noticed an ad on the metro here of a pelican with a water bottle swallowed and stuck in the pelican’s throat, and it has sparked this desire in me to combine fighting for the environment and using marketing as the tool to get it done. This is just an example of learning the unexpected desires and aspects of yourself that you find when abroad. It is a priceless experience that you only have a short time to take advantage of.

So please go forth and learn in a new place. You will reap benefits you didn’t even know were possible, and you’ll wonder how you ever waited so long to travel to this new place that will become a new home.


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Tyler Benavides

<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>

2017 Summer 1, 2017 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Illinois at Chicago
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