In today’s post, our Summer 2018 ACCENT Community College Scholarship recipients Patricia Dominguez and Kayla Mercure settle into their new lives abroad in London and Paris. Exploring their cites on foot, by metro, and by boat, both students agree that each day abroad presents a new opportunity to discover, learn, and simply enjoy.
Golden West College
British History and Culture Summer in London 2018
I am enjoying my first two weeks studying abroad in London! Every day, I wake up to a new adventure. I have been able visit the many historical sites, which expand the knowledge that we are acquiring in the classroom. This program has encouraged me to immerse myself in the culture of the city. The location of my apartment is in the downtown area of London which means everything is a short distance away, such as the famous Thames river. I was able to fulfill one of my dreams to see a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre. As I walked out of the theatre at night, the view of the city and the river at night was absolutely breathtaking! I also took a ferry that gives a beautiful view of the city and passes underneath London Bridge and Tower Bridge. The Charles Dickens museum is only two blocks away from my apartment and I enjoy walking there to have tea and cake in the small backyard patio.
This program has far exceeded my expectations. I am discovering myself in new ways, experiencing things on my own and with my classmates. The moments when I step out of my comfort zone have been some of my most momentous. One of our class day trips was to Greenwich to see the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory. At the Observatory, I was able to stand on the prime meridian line, where longitude is defined to be 0 degrees and the earth is divided into two hemispheres. As a Nursing major, a visit to the Florence Nightingale Museum at St. Thomas Hospital could not be missed. It was there that the profession of nursing began. I have grown very fond of this city and the people here. London has made a surprising impact on me in only two weeks and I am looking forward to what I will experience in my remaining days here.
Orange Coast College
Summer in Paris 2018
I’ve never been a fan of routine. Normal life in California, as lovely as it is, can verge on monotonous, and for a long time I knew that I needed a change. What better cure for boredom than living halfway around the world?
I decided to look into ACCENT’s incredible study abroad program, and it was the best decision I could have made for myself. Going into the program, I didn’t know anyone at all, but that certainly didn’t bother me; I didn’t have time to be nervous! I knew this could be the opportunity of a lifetime–and I was right. From the moment I stepped off the plane at Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris has swept me off my feet and encouraged me to become fiercely independent. Navigating the (in)famously convoluted métro system, branching out and trying exquisite and unusual types of food, budgeting my money, maintaining a balance between studying and adventuring–these are just a few of the things I have become proficient in during the short weeks I’ve spent here.
One of my favorite parts about being in Paris is how accessible the entire city is. On a normal day, I can hop on the train to go to class, stumble across a tiny cafe and catch up on my homework, stroll through the Jardin du Luxembourg with a fresh panini, window shop along the Champs-Élysées, and watch the sun set behind the Arc de Triomphe. When I was feeling particularly adventurous, I visited the exquisite Château de Versailles, the world-famous Musée de Louvre, and even Claude Monet’s fabulous home and gardens in Giverny. But here’s the unique thing about Paris: you don’t have to rush. In the U.S., our lives are strictly dictated by time, and the downside of that lies in the fact that we often forget that half the fun of reaching your destination is how you choose to get there. Here in Paris, I’ve learned to truly take the time to enjoy even the most minor parts of my day. Meals, for instance, aren’t hurriedly eaten for the sake of being full; they’re treated as an opportunity to connect with those around you. Some of my favorite memories so far have simply been the luxurious hours spent around the dinner table with the people I have been incredibly fortunate enough to meet here.
Something that I will never forget is the serendipitous timing of my trip coinciding with the World Cup. I was able to cheer on France’s team as they broke through the quarter finals, semi-finals, and then won the Cup entirely! I still can’t fully process how lucky I was to be here when that happened. All of France was dancing in the streets! We gathered near the Arc de Triomphe to celebrate, and it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever been a part of. Allez les Bleus!
ACCENT is proud to support the Community College Scholarship as part of our commitment pledge to IIE Generation Study Abroad, a nationwide effort to help more U.S. students gain international experience through study abroad programs.
Ready to embark on your own study abroad adventure? Open enrollment programs with ACCENT allow students of all educational and financial backgrounds to study abroad. Find a program that works best for you at: http://accentintl.com/find-a-program/.