Orientation in Paris

Authored by:
Finley A.

Finley A.

 Before I could begin my voyage to Denmark. I would have to start in Paris for my orientation. I've never been to Paris, so I was really excited! I had a lot of firsts too on the trip, like flying alone, being in a dorm, and trying some very peculiar food. Read more about my adventure below.

Day 1

On the plane ride, I flew with another student going to Denmark, though we weren't able to talk much, he was hilarious. When we arrived in Paris, we were the first ones, at 7 am. We were picked up by STS and were driven to the hostel. I was drained, so I decided after a quick breakfast to rest up. There was a beautiful view from my room too!

After I napped, I woke up to some exchange students entered the place I was in, we were dorm mates. I and some other girls spent the night explored Paris and then went to have dinner with the group. I was so surprised to see that there were only three Americans, including myself! Most of the people there were from New Zealand, Switzerland, Italy, and Austria. I was so excited to be around so many different people from so many different cultures! I made sure to get a good night of sleep in anticipation of the next day. 

Day 2

I woke up fresh and early for day two of my time in Paris. I had a baguette with ham and cheese, and after the orientation, we drove to Sacré-Coeur Basilica. There I had the best hot dog yet and did some shopping with a nice girl from Finland. 

After exploring Sacré-Coeur Basilica, we headed to Champs-Élysées. Though I didn't end up getting too close to the Arc de Triomphe, it was fascinating to look at. I instead explored Champs-Élysées and found some very delicious macaroons to keep me busy. 

That night we ate an early dinner because we were going to see the newest Star Wars Movie at the Grand Rex Movie theater, there were 1000 seats in the movie theatre, and the screen was so big I had to turn my head to see everything! I had never seen a movie theatre of such size and grand-ness. I was in awe. I also had a bit of cultural exchange while I was getting food at the theatre. When I ordered popcorn, I was asked if I wanted "Sugar or salt," I didn't know that there was either sugar or salt. I explained to a student from Austria that in the US, you usually get asked if you want butter, and he said, "That's the most American thing I've ever heard," which made me laugh. After the movie, we got back to the hotel, and I went to bed. 

Day 3

Today was exciting; we were going on a boat tour and see the Eiffel Tower! The day started after our orientation when we walked down to Filles du Calvaire, along the way I saw many landmarks, though I'm not sure what they're called. A girl from Finland and I explored for a while, and I got some vintage french fashion. I also decided to try some French cuisine to support my new year's resolution. Though I'm not sure what I ordered, I know I wasn't a fan of it. The taste seems very acquired, and I could hardly finish it. It makes me second guess my resolution.

While I was eating, I noticed that there were police cars and armored police lined up at the street, and vehicles were being told to turn around. Before I knew it, a giant strike was happening before my eyes; it was the most surreal thing I've ever experienced! I was so shocked and almost scared. It went on for about forty minutes, but every second was so exciting and a little frightening, but something about the protest was different. As the armored police, who were carrying guns, walked by, they smiled. People were dancing and singing; It was peaceful. Everyone was happy to demonstrate. I could tell this was important and needed to happen.

I realized I should probably note that STS is the sister program of CIEE. I believe because CIEE doesn't have headquarters in any Scandinavian countries,  STS will take CIEE students studying in Scandinavia, but I digress. After the strike, I explored a bit longer before we all went to dinner. The food wasn't bad, but I was feeling drained and cold. Something was off. Nonetheless, I powered through. We then went on a boat cruise, but since we were all a bit tired, it wasn't too exciting. The trip to the top of the Eiffel tower was fascinating. It was so cold! But so worth it, and I got some super cool pictures!

Day 4

My last day, something was wrong. I was sick, sicker then I had been in a long time. I had a horrible case of the stomach bug, but thank goodness my dorm and the STS staff helped. Thinking back on it, I'm a little embarrassed about how bad it was, cause I don't like to be dramatic. Nonetheless, I had to miss my flight due to illness sadly, but STS had it swiftly rebooked, and on the fifth day, I made it to my host family! <3

Overall. The hustle and bustle of Paris are just not for me. People move to fast and it's hard to keep up. Though I am very glad I came and hope I get to come back; living in the countryside in Denmark seems much more peaceful. 


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