Studying Abroad in Paris, France.

I’ve been home for a little over a month, and I think it’s time I write my “study abroad” experience blog post. Where do I even begin?

What an incredible experience. I am SO HAPPY I took the plunge and decided to follow my dreams of studying abroad. I think I picked the BEST place to study. I fell in love with Paris, but let’s be honest- who doesn’t fall in love with the city of lights? It’s charming, the wine is amazing, and everywhere you turn it’s visually pleasing. The Parisian buildings, famous landmarks, and museums made me never want to leave.

I had picnics by the Eiffel Tower (something I’ll never forget) with wine, cheese, and baguettes, enjoyed wild nights out in Bastille with amazing friends, and enjoyed drinking coffee at my favorite cafe called Radiodays. Life in Paris for 4 months was a complete DREAM.

I found myself there. I gained my confidence back, I learned how to be independent again, and I chased adventure. For the first time in a very long time, I felt happy and free. I felt like I could accomplish anything. This is my biggest take away from studying abroad. I was able to reinvent myself, and focus completely on myself. I had just gotten out of a long term relationship, and going to Paris when I did was the best thing ever. It put a lot of things into perspective, and for the first time in years, I was single!

I made friends for life. Before going abroad, I was so nervous to meet new people. I am pretty reserved and mostly always to myself, so to my surprise I made a ton of friends. I traveled to different countries with them- and we experienced different cultures together. It was hard saying goodbye to these people, because most of them live on the East Coast! But one day, I plan on visiting them all and having a little reunion. I miss them all so much.

I finally can say I’ve been to Europe. For the longest time I’ve been itching to travel to Europe. I’d watch “House Hunters International” on HGTV, and record the episodes that were specifically in Europe. Places like Paris, London, Madrid, Milan, Prague and more were calling my name. Studying abroad in Paris meant that it was easy to travel to other surrounding countries (a huge BONUS)! So, as you all know from prior blog posts I was able to go to: Amsterdam, London, Barcelona, Nice & Cannes, Venice, Rome, Naples, and Marseille. This was me traveling on a budget and having limited money… I was so fortunate to be able to see all those beautiful cities. I cannot wait to go back and explore the places I didn’t get to visit. Now that I’ve had a little taste of traveling, I want more!

School/Fun ratio was perfect. The American Business School of Paris is where I attended for Spring semester. I took a full load (12 units), and had more than enough downtime to travel, have fun, and enjoy the city life. I had class Tuesday, Thursday and Friday’s. I loved having three day weekends; it truly was the best. I liked the school, and loved how many different nationalities went there! I got to meet all kinds of people, from all over.

If I could go back to Paris, I would in a heartbeat. I’m actually still dealing with withdrawals and coming down from my Paris high- as I call it. I hope to go back to Europe when I graduate from college next fall. I’d love to backpack for 3 months or so, but obviously that all depends on finances & where I’m at in my life. BUT- that’s the goal. I must go back! Some places I’d love to see that I didn’t? Switzerland, Greece, Germany, Belgium, Croatia, Austria, Czech Republic, Portugal,  Scotland, Ireland, Wales, should I even go on? I’d be down to go ANYWHERE!

I’d tell anyone thinking about studying abroad to DO IT. Jump in, head first. It really did change my life, and opened my eyes to a whole new world. If you have any questions, or would love some advice about Paris- I’d be happy to share my knowledge and experiences. This was a special blog post to write, I hope y’all loved it.

 

xo

Musée du Louvre.

I went on a walking tour of the Louvre a few weeks ago. It was absolutely stunning. I didn’t know that the Louvre was the largest museum in the world. To get an idea of how big it is: If you spent 60 seconds looking at each of the objects at the Louvre, going steadily for eight hours a day, it would take you 75 days to see them all. SERIOUSLY!

So, obviously I did not see it all. But what I did see- I was really happy about! I’ll pick some of my favorite photos from my visit.

I think the highlight of my trip to the Louvre, was seeing the Mona Lisa. I had no idea that the painting itself was so tiny! But I can now check that off my list! Seeing Leonardo da Vinci’s work was so amazing. I will never forget it!

Walking through Napolean III apartments was mind blowing. So much beautiful detailing, and the ceilings were so elaborate. I just can’t believe I got to experience it all.

 

 

xo

Notre-Dame de Paris.

Today was a beautiful day of walking the streets of Paris. I went to a bookstore to return a few things, and decided to walk to the Notre-Dame Cathedral. It was a 30-minute walk, so I was able to snap a few pictures along the way there. If anyone knows me- they know I am obsessed with flowers! The flower shops here are to die for. I just can’t get over how beautiful everything is!

Above is the Seine River.

The weather wasn’t that bad either- it wasn’t super cold, so I didn’t mind walking 30 minutes! When I first arrived here, I wouldn’t have been able to do that in 30-degree weather. Thankfully today was around 46-48 degrees outside (which is doable for this California girl).

When I see the beauty of this city, it makes me wish I had someone to share it with. Traveling/exploring alone is a different feeling than when you travel with someone else. But I can honestly say- coming to Paris alone is probably the boldest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I am SO PROUD of myself. I am out of my comfort zone, I am challenging myself, and I am depending solely on myself. It’s a new feeling of independence I have never felt before.

 

The Cathedral is absolutely stunning. Seeing it in person, made me want to pinch myself. I was thinking “Wow, am I really here? Am I really in Paris right now?” I guess I’m still in shock! Especially when I see beautiful, historical things that have been around for years and years! I just can’t believe I get to explore such a beautiful and charming city.

 

xo

 

PARIS: WEEK ONE.

I cannot believe I’ve been in Paris for a week and a half already! I have so much to update on, so get a snack & be prepared…

So: the first couple of days in Paris were a little blurry. I was super jet lagged- I have never experienced disorientation like that before. Paris is 9 hours ahead of San Francisco. It took me literally a week to get a good amount of sleep (I kept waking up at 2 a.m. ready to start my day….) But if I’m being honest, I’m still adjusting to the time change. I believe day 2 of being here- I just slept ALL DAY LONG. A total of 17 hours of on/off sleep. Just got up to use the restroom and eat a little something.

Fast forward to day 4: it was a boat tour on the Seine River with my school! It was GORGEOUS…. but it was FREEZING! I sat on the top of the boat for awhile until I went inside to get warm. I think the mixture of the temperature/weather change and traveling got me sick! By the end of the night I started feeling my throat act  a little funny—- and I just knew: fuck, I’m getting sick.

So, let’s talk about the weather here in Paris. I’m from California, so I’m super spoiled with “good” weather. Living in the Bay Area, the weather is mild and doesn’t get that cold. I didn’t even know what COLD was, until I arrived in Paris. I know some people will roll their eyes reading this: but you have to consider where I’m from, and what I’m used to. The first week was FREEZING. I would wake up, and mornings would be 25 degrees out (Fahrenheit). The Canal Saint Martin, right by my flat, was actually partially frozen on top! My landlord even mentioned that it was very rare for that to happen, and it usually isn’t this cold in Paris. By mid-day it would be 34 degrees out, so I’m not used to this weather! Luckily today was a beautiful 53 degrees outside! GLORIOUS! I’ll just say, I cannot wait for Springtime to come!

Another hard thing I’ve had to face is just being alone and depending solely on myself. I am renting my own studio apartment, here in Paris. I have never “lived” completely alone. It’s always been me and my parents, then me and my boyfriend. SO, that’s been a huge adjustment. I don’t have Lola Mae with me- and everyone knows how much I love that little dog. It made me realize how lonely it can get. Lola Mae is in good hands- my parents have agreed to watch her while I’m here in Paris (thanks mom! I know you’re reading this!)

One of the main reasons why I decided to do study abroad— was to get out of my COMFORT ZONE. I have been going on the metro alone, getting around Paris alone, and exploring alone. These are things I’m not used to doing. These are things I’d usually share with someone else. But having these experiences is changing me, and helping me grow as an individual. I wanted this challenge, and Paris has been challenging me a lot…… whew! 

Here are some pretty pictures I’ve taken so far:

*all images are my own. follow me on instagram for more: @krystalinthecity

Another struggle I’ve faced while being here: the language barrier! I feel like the movie, LOST IN TRANSLATION sometimes. It’s so hard not being able to communicate with people on a everyday basis. Of course I’m trying my best, and people have been nice about me speaking English…. while others have not. I guess it just depends on the person. But, I am taking a french class here! So I hope I know more words than: Bonjour, Merci, Au Revior, Pardon, and Parlez-vous anglais?

Let’s see how the next few weeks go! It’s been a total adjustment period: I’m living in a new country alone, and I don’t speak the language. It’s scary. But I’m up for the challenge. I knew this wouldn’t be easy. I know it’s going to be worth it! I know years and years from now, I can tell my kids that I moved to Paris when I was 24 years old, all by myself. I explored the city and ate delicious croissants and macarons! I know I’ll be proud of myself when I do end up looking back at this chapter in my life… so I’m going to soak it all in: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

xo

Paris, I have arrived!

HELLO FROM PARIS, FRANCE!

I arrived on Sunday, the 22nd! I didn’t have time to do much, since I got here in the late afternoon. I unpacked one of my suitcases. The next day (Monday) I went to a grocery store down the street from where my flat is, and bought some toilet paper, milk, eggs, bread, water, and other food. I think the biggest struggle I’m going to face, is not being able to speak the language! I get super nervous, but non the less, I try with what I know!

Paris is magical, now I know why everyone loves this city. It’s full of beautiful old buildings, adorable cafes, and history every where you turn. I cannot wait to explore more of it!

Here are a few pictures I’ve taken since I’ve been here for a few days:

I’m not going to lie, I miss Lola Mae very much already… as well as Target! But I’m looking forward to this life-changing journey! Paris is gorgeous! I cannot wait to start classes (the 30th) & begin learning French.

Jet lag is a real thing. Oh boy, I had NO idea. Last night I went to sleep at 11 p.m., and was sleeping off and on until 4:30 p.m. the next day. I’ve never done that before! I guess that just goes to show you how tired I was!

 

xo

PACKING FOR PARIS.

I’m leaving for Paris in about a week, and I already have everything packed for my trip. I will be in Paris for a full academic year (which is about 11 months). How am I going to make almost a year of clothing, shoes, toiletries, etc fit into a few suitcases? Well, I am taking 3 suitcases FULL of stuff. 1 carry on, and 2 suitcases that I’ll have to check in. I really thought ONE carry on, and ONE checked luggage would be enough……. NOT AT ALL.

Remember: I’m taking sweaters, jackets, shoes, pajamas, underwear, shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, socks, etc; and the sweaters alone took up so much space. My only concern is lugging around 3 suitcases, but my sister reminded me that they do have trolleys at the airport, so I should be fine.

I want to show you guys some of the things I’m taking with me on the trip, and I’ll try to include links in case you were interested.

 

BAGS:

I’m taking a standard bag which will function as my school bag, and a purse. I used it last semester, and I just love it so much. It’s roomy, functional, and super adorable. If you’re thinking of getting this Transport Tote from Madewell, I say: DO IT. FOUND HERE.

I also recently bought this suede fringe one! Two bags is perfect! I’ll stuff this in my luggage, because I’m taking the transport tote with me on the plane. FOUND HERE.

 

SHOES:

I’m taking so many shoes, only because I need variety for the different seasons! Boots, flats, sandals. Here are a few that I’m taking:

These loafers from Madewell, in this cheetah print is so fun! I also got them in plain brown leather. So cute. ON SALE HERE.

I need a good pair of sneakers to take with me! These are on sale too, at Madewell. They also come in a pretty burgundy shade. FOUND HERE.

 

SKIRTS:

This velvet skirt is from Loft (and on sale!) Found here.

This adorable sweater skirt, from Madewell, also on sale! So cute on! FOUND HERE.

 

SWEATERS:

(via loft )

 

JEANS:

I’m a huge fan of J.CREW denim! They fit amazing, and are so flattering. If you go to their website, they have a lot on sale right now. I only get their jeans, on sale! FOUND HERE.

 

I’m so excited! I can’t believe my trip is right around the corner!

 

xo

A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

I’ve been holding some great news in for months and months! I can finally share, since it’s OFFICIAL…. I’M STUDYING ABROAD IN PARIS! Can someone pinch me? Can someone seriously pinch me, I’m dreaming right?

No! This is real! I never thought I’d be able to study abroad… because I always assumed it was too expensive and out of reach. How would I be able to go? But after going to a study abroad orientation, it was very much a possibility!

It has been months  and months of preparation, and hard work: I had to get accepted into the study abroad program, I had to get a certain GPA to go, I had to get accepted to the university in Paris, legalities (getting a student visa), finding housing etc… But everything is in order, and I leave this month.  *ahhh, so soon!*

I’m so anxious and nervous! I’ve never been on a plane by myself, I have never lived completely alone, and I don’t speak any french! But, isn’t life about taking risks and putting yourself out of your comfort zone? YES. 2017 is my year to shine!

I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity. I am filled with so much gratitude! This couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. It’s time to fully focus on myself, my health, and my goals. The small group of people that knew I was doing this have been so supportive and encouraging. I am beyond blessed! They know who they are.

This blog is going to expand, and I can’t wait to share my travels, new places I love to eat, and so much more. STAY TUNED….

 

 

xo