The day FINALLY came. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to go to Paris, France and see the Eiffel Tower! The last weekend in February, I spent four days there.
My trip to Paris was my first time to another European country. The trip was everything I hoped it would be…exciting, fun, and adventurous, but more than anything else, it was a learning experience.
Looking back on my trip I learned many lessons about traveling and about myself.
Lesson #1: Ask for help.
When my friends and I began looking at prices for flights to Paris, we didn’t know anything about traveling in Europe. After looking at different websites, we found tickets for a flight from Malaga (another city in Spain) to Paris. We were really excited because we thought we did a great job with finding a flight on our own. However, later on that day I spoke with my host dad and I found out that buying a round trip (tickets to and from Paris) would have been cheaper and easier! This experience helped me learn that if you don’t know enough about something you should always ask because there will always be someone there to help!
Lesson #2: Traveling is challenging, yet extremely rewarding.
I do not speak French. So going to a French speaking country was difficult at times. For example, my first night in France we had to take a taxi to the Eiffel Tower. I had no idea how to say “Eiffel Tower” in French, so I made a tower with my hands and hoped the driver would understand me. Luckily he did and I was rewarded with the stunning sight of the Eiffel Tower. Another challenge was finding my way through an unfamiliar city. Thanks to a map and some luck, however, I saw many of Paris’ amazing attractions! I learned that even though traveling can be difficult and stressful at times, it is absolutely worth it!
While in Paris, not only did I learn about traveling, but I also learned new things about Paris I never knew before:
1. The Mona Lisa. The painting of the Mona Lisa is much smaller than it seems. I learned that the painter of the Mona Lisa, Leonardo De Vinci, did not finish the painting. I thought it was very interesting that such a famous painting is unfinished.
2. Notre Dame. Have any of you seen the Disney movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame? I saw the real version of the church from the movie! This famous cathedral is extremely old. I never realized how old until I visited Paris. One of the stain glass windows was made around the year 1200–that’s over 800 years ago!
3. The Eiffel Tower. I learned the Eiffel Tower was a gift from the United States to France. How cool, right? I also learned that the structure is named after it’s designer and engineer, Gustave Eiffel. Seeing it in person, I realized it is MUCH bigger than it looks on TV or in pictures.
Overall, I had an amazing experience in Paris. Paris is one of the most gorgeous cities I have ever seen. More importantly, however, my trip to Paris helped me learn more about the world around me; outside of the United States. This opportunity to experience different countries and cultures first hand is exciting and rewarding, but above all, its unforgettable.
Classmates Connecting Cultures