Paris Zoe Bolto 2

Where do I begin?!

Zoe – International Core Curriculum Paris Program, ACU Winter Break 2016

Paris Zoe BoltoThe UNCC300 Core Paris trip – where can I even begin? To say this was a life changing and challenging (in the best way), would be a severe understatement. Yes, there were croissants. Yes, there were endless amounts of cheese. Yes, we did eat snails lit by candlelight. But underneath all of this ‘tourism’ there was so much more to learn and engage in on this magnificent trip!

Not only was Paris the most beautiful setting in the world to make new friends, interact with locals and eat way too much; studying at university made the whole experience different. We weren’t just visiting, for a while we became a part of the city’s daily rhythms. We met the same security guard everyday whilst walking into college, we walked past the same people on the street everyday, we went to the same coffee shops – some of us went on the same daily runs around the beautiful Luxembourg gardens.

Learning about human dignity in a completely different context made the content so much more meaningful, as we were outsiders in this foreign city, Paris Zoe Bolto 4we could look on everything with perspective and less bias than if we were learning at home. Site visits were so unique, perhaps even hard to grasp a country that has so much history compared to our own. In particular, the French Immigration Museum brought to light so much about mobility between countries and what people go through in search of better life, that you could even consider in terms of our own country where most people have immigration in their family background somewhere.

Personally, this opportunity really highlighted not only what it meant to be human, but also aspects of my own Nationality and how I identify myself. It demonstrated to me how important a nation’s culture can be and how people’s lives can be so different purely because they live in a different part of the world.

The trip also factored in a lot of free time, so being able to roam the city together or on one’s own was totally feasible. Art museums, climbing the Eiffel Tower, the Fan Zone of the Eurocup, the Champs de Elysees and the Cathedral of Notre Dame were pretty much seen by everyone on this trip (And if you think Aussie’s get into the AFL – they’ve literally got nothing on the French, they shut down half of the city, streets and crowds were heard cheering hours before the big matches, even when we were on top of the Eiffel Tower we could still hear them!).

Paris Zoe Bolto 3If I were talking to anyone thinking of studying overseas on this program, or really any other international program I would 100% recommend it. You meet the most beautiful people, might develop a new sense of independence and can tick ‘study overseas’ overseas off your bucket list (I know I did). In light of this, I’d like to say thanks, not only to ACU Study Abroad, but also to every person in my class that made this trip so memorable for me (You guys are 11/10! Wish I could heart emoji but can’t figure that quite out).

Handing in my essay at the end, was bittersweet. Easy to say bye-bye essay, but so not ever ready to say ‘au revoir’ to my experience in Paris. Many weeks of post travel blues, scrolling through old photos as well as meeting up with new friends halfway across the world on our actual campus ahead!