Broadening horizons


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 Panthéon. Near the end of the semester, while walking to our favorite café, we found a merry-go-round that had been set up outside of Hôtel 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.