The Parisian Exit

Tyler Benavides
July 4, 2017

And so I have returned home. It almost feels a little surreal to suddenly be thrown back into the normal life I’ve always known. There are no more bakeries on the corner, no more tram outside my door, no more French to hear every single day. I can say that I do miss it. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I took and I am guaranteed never to have another experience like it again. None of us who were involved will ever experience something like that exactly the same, even the professors. It will always be a unique thing, and that is exciting to think about. I miss the uniqueness that made every adventure in Paris so special; that filled each day with a life to be lived that was always different than the life lived the day before. With study abroad, there is always new people to meet and hang out with, to talk to and get to know. There is always some place that hasn’t been discovered and is simply waiting for itself to be noticed. These special qualities of each day made the mind race with what was to come ahead unexpectedly.

And yet, at the same time, I don’t quite miss Paris as much as I thought I would before I embarked on this trip. Like I said, I miss the uniqueness of the people I met and spent time with, and each place that found a way to be different from the last, but when I left, it didn’t feel like a final goodbye was happening. I felt the sense that I would return someday even if it wasn’t soon. It was as if I had left a part of myself to inhabit Paris while I went off back into my own world, so I could return to my place there if I wanted.

There was a connection that I formed with Paris when I studied there, and that I took back with me. When you spend time in a place learning about all of these different aspects of your chosen field of study, yourself, and about life in general, you tend to grow an attachment. When you study abroad, it is not just the studying taking place, but the living as well. It shapes you and it is not something to be easily forgotten. Personally, I still ponder over things I did in Paris; I still replay memories and moments over and over again in my head.

The study abroad experience sticks with you. It plays a part in your growth, and although I am writing this just 4 days after my last class ended, I find myself constantly thinking about it all, and I know that it will influence me for months and years to come in ways that I cannot even expect. This will be the final time that I say that study abroad is worth everything. It has a very real possibility of shaping your future in one area of life or another. If you can go, then go, and go somewhere that will push you out of your comfort zone, and test your skills. It is one of the most enriching and fulfilling things that we as students can do with our lives at college.

With my experience officially having come to a close, I hope I have inspired you to open up your possibilities of where learning can take you. I implore you to run full speed ahead into the challenges that the world is waiting to offer. Go forth and learn.



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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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