By Joanne Kim, Foster Undergraduate who participated in the Business Britain Exploration Seminar during Early Fall Start 2017. Joanne was a GBC Study Abroad Scholarship recipient.
As I reminisce on my time abroad, I can’t help but feel extremely grateful for everything I was able to experience and everywhere I was able to travel to. However, I realize that these experiences would not have been the same if it weren’t for the people that I got to share it with. Out of all the memories I made throughout my program, the most memorable is my weekend getaway to Paris (it still sounds so crazy for me to say that). One of my really good friends was already in Paris and since it’s only a quick train ride away from London, I thought, “Why not?!”.
The moment I stepped out of the train station, I was greeted by the sun and the beautiful rhythm of the French language. Alas, I was in Paris! My first goal was to get to the hostel where I would meet my friend. It was only supposed to take five minutes to walk there, but of course I got lost and it took me fifteen minutes. The moment I walked into the hostel, I spotted my friend; it was so nice to see a familiar face, especially after being lost and alone in a foreign country. After we settled in, we were off to explore the city.
Our first stop was Arc de Triomphe. While making our way to the underground train, a man was following very closely behind and he ended up trying to pickpocket my friend! Thankfully, my friend felt her bag being touched and stopped him before he could steal anything. It was quite an alarming experience, but it definitely reminded us to not be too comfortable and to be keenly aware. The Arc de Triomphe was massive and breathtaking. After roaming the streets for awhile, we headed for dinner. After looking at what the table next to us was eating, we ordered the same meat and cheese platter; however, when our plate came out, it only consisted of meat. We told our waiter that we thought the plate came with cheese, but he responded extremely defensively and confused. So, we just continued eating. Soon after, the owner came to our table with a meat AND cheese plate. Finally satisfied, we began to eat. However, the cheese was making it saltier and our taste palettes weren’t accustomed to the strong flavors. Funny enough, after going through all that trouble, we still ended up unsatisfied and hungry. Dinner took a little bit longer than expected, and so we began running towards the Eiffel Tower to catch the sunset. We found a grassy area to sit and gaze at this beautiful monument. As day turned into night, the Eiffel Tower began to sparkle and the city felt more alive than ever. It was definitely the best way to end the night! The next day, we woke up bright and early to go to the Palace of Versailles. It was such an enriching experience and the palace itself is just insane.
Paris will always hold a special place in my heart, not just because it is such a beautiful city, but also because I got to experience it with my dear friend. There’s no one I would have rather been with after almost getting pick pocketed, receiving bad customer service, and running the streets to catch the sunset. These are the moments that I will cherish forever.