Studying abroad is a wonderful experience, although it is expensive.
Meeting people from all walks of life is one of the best aspects of a study abroad trip. In Paris, I met people from across the country, and the world, while studying at the American University of Paris.
According to a report by the Institute of International Education, 273, 996 American students studied abroad in the 2010-11 academic year.
During my stay in Paris, I met other students from many different parts of the U.S., including New York, San Francisco and Miami. Connections between students happened quickly. Being alone in a foreign country drew us together through similarity of circumstance.
I met a woman from Ft. Walton Beach one day after overhearing a conversation. Here I was more than 4,500 miles away from home, yet I had met someone from the same area of Florida as myself.
Studying abroad also gives students the chance to meet others from around the world. I met people from places I had never thought about visiting. The sweetest woman I met was a student from the Philippines. We had lunch during orientation and spent all-nighters Facebook chatting while writing papers.
But my strongest connection was with a student from New York City. She and I would spend hours getting lost in the city. We would get on the metro and get off at stops we had never heard of.
On our first adventure, we found a Mexican wrestling bar that was nestled in a neighborhood next to the PanthÃ©on. Near the end of the semester, while walking to our favorite cafÃ©, we found a merry-go-round that had been set up outside of HÃ´tel de Ville. We jumped right on and took three rides with the buildings of Paris adorned in Christmas lights twinkling in the background.
I have stayed in contact with the friends I made there, and I feel privileged to have met many of them. They made my study abroad experience one to remember. The memories and friends made on a study abroad trip are some of the best and most powerful of one’s life.