Three weeks have passed by since I have arrived in Nantes, France for my five-week study abroad program. In this short time, I have made many friends and memories that will last a lifetime. While taking classes is important, as I have learned many things, it is the people and experiences that have taught me the most. Being subjected to new ways of thinking and different cultures other than my own have widened my knowledge of the world immensely. This is knowledge that I will carry on with me throughout my lifetime.
Upon my arrival to Nantes on a Wednesday, I had the privilege of meeting many people from all corners of the world, including the UK, France, Mexico, Germany, and China. I also met a few people from Cincinnati and some fellow Louisville Cards. They invited me along on their trip they had planned for the weekend to Munich, Germany. Even though I had just gotten to France, I couldn’t resist the opportunity.
Having never been to Germany, Munich was an amazing experience. The friends I traveled with had a friend from Munich, Robert, who showed us around the city. Having lived there his whole life and being a student there, Robert was able to show us things that the normal tourist would never be able to experience. For instance, he invited us to his school on a Friday night where a crowd of the students gathered on the rooftop looking over the city, to watch the France-Romania soccer match on TV, as the Euro 2016 was taking place.
After returning from Munich and taking classes for a couple of weeks in Nantes, this past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Lisbon, Portugal. Besides my face getting extremely sun burnt after a day on the beach, Lisbon is my favorite place I have ever traveled. I would describe it as the San Francisco of Europe; the city, culture, and landscape are all very similar and quirky. From laying on the beach to exploring the castles and hilly, cobblestone streets, Lisbon was a unique experience. It’s a place that I can only hope to revisit.
So the moral of the story is when you are studying abroad, try to meet as many people as possible and take any (reasonable) opportunity that is thrown at you. Not only will you get to go to cool places, but you will learn a lot about yourself and the world in which you live.