As my study abroad in France and Switzerland comes to an end, I have had time to reflect on my experiences. I have learned so much in the short time frame of just three and a half weeks. My study abroad experiences consisted of lots of sightseeing and educational tours about the history of Paris and topics concerning public health. We toured the Louvre Museum, the Palace of Versailles, and also Marie Curie’s Laboratory as well as many other sights and attractions. I traveled to places I had never been before, got lost but then found my place again. I made new friendships with people with different backgrounds and gained a new perspective from them. I experienced culture shocks and had the opportunity to ask questions while becoming accustomed to the change. I was amazed by the various public health measures spread out throughout the city like the extensive metro system for public transportation, Paris’s sewer system creating clean water, and the abundance of public water fountains just to name a few. When surrounded by good food, healthy water, and generally happy people, it is no wonder their longevity is much higher here as compared to the United States. Amongst all the places we visited, my favorite was the authentic village of Montmartre. Montmartre is one of the most charming areas in Paris. This is Paris’s highest elevation which reaches 130 meters at its peak. At its highest point sits the Sacré-Cœr Basilica, placed where it is to connect heaven and earth while being visible to the entire city. Vincent Van Gough amongst other artists were mesmerized by the sight of the area and flocked here for inspiration. After visiting the village for myself, I can see why. We spent the day on a guided walking tour stopping at the homes of famous deceased artists and learned a little more about the area with each and every stop.
This study abroad experience has forever changed my perspective. Because of this experience, I am more passionate about my public health major than ever before and am even considering pursuing my masters degree abroad. I am grateful to have learned all that I have and thankful to everyone who helped me on this journey.