Paris International Core Program, Winter 2016
To say that this experience was life changing would be an understatement. From the very moment that I arrived onto St John’s University campus in the sixth arrondissement, I realized that the people I would meet and the places I would go to in this beautiful city would have an impact on my life, both personally and professionally.
One thing that brought us together as a group was music, particularly our impromptu dance parties or X-Factor auditions walking the streets of Paris. So, I have decided to talk about some of my favourite memories on this trip, accompanied by our very own Paris playlist.
“The best thing about being a woman, is the prerogative to have a little fun”-Shania Twain Man I Feel Like A Woman
To set the scene, the timetable for this program was great, allowing time for us to adapt to a new time zone, to become familiar with public transport and to become acquainted with the city of Paris. Our first weekend was free time, with no tutorials or French language classes scheduled. We decided as a group that we would go out together to watch the Euros down at the local sports bar and then head out to see what this city had in store for us!
The 4th floor, known as the “Girl’s Floor”, was our home away from home for 2 weeks, with the boys living on the 2nd floor. Our rooms included one bunk bed, two desks, two cupboards, a small sink and a balcony overlooking the main passageway.
On this particular evening, while the we were getting ready to go out, we decided to play some music and Shania Twain’s anthem “Man I Feel Like A Woman” caused a spur-of-the-moment party in my room. From this point on, each day as I got up and prepared myself, I could not help but think of this small moment, cemented in my memory that united us as a group, by music.
“You should let me love you, let me be the one to give you everything you want and need”- Mario Let Me Love You
Metro, the train system in Paris, was the main form of transportation for most of us along with walking, given our close proximity to many main attractions in the city. For example, we were about a 20-25 minute walk from Musée d’Orsay and about 35 minutes from the Louvre.
To pass the time as we were travelling to these destinations, we talked together, laughed and sometimes had spontaneous sing-alongs as we conducted high fashion photo-shoots along the way with a particular favourite of ours being Let Me Love You by Mario. It is with fondness that each time I think of breathtaking artwork displayed at these museums like the Mona Lisa or Van Gogh’s self portraits, I also remember how we arrived and this is much a memory as the art itself.
The International Core Paris Program provided us with an insight into the current social issues within Paris, France and on a larger scale Europe. This is heavily impacted by an increase in irregular migration and homelessness, which were the topics embedded into UNCC300. We were presented with case studies and had the opportunity to go out into the community and see first hand how the effects of war, poverty, economic downfall and political instability can result in mass migration. For example, one of our group excursions was to the Immigration Museum, focusing on their temporary exhibition on Borders of the World. Some of the content and themes we covered and encountered over the two weeks were at times difficult to process, but as a group, we were able to support each other to get the most out of each experience.
“ I got my eyes on you, your everything that I see. I want high love and emotion endlessly” – Drake Hold On We’re Going Home
My final musical memory of this unforgettable program is simply the wonderful, crazy cats of ACU whom I was lucky enough to share this experience with. We studied different courses and came from different states, however were united first by the Core Program and then by the magic of Paris. I am very grateful to ACU and Study Abroad for offering this program to its students as a way to understand human dignity on a global scale.