Blog by Alvin Duong, Biology, CIEE Open Campus in Paris, France
As I sit here waiting for my first flight to Dallas and eventually Paris, I wanted to recollect all the madness that’s happened in the past several months. As soon as I found out I was able to afford study abroad, I jumped straight on that boat and signed up for all the meetings I can with my study abroad advisors. Many meetings and discussions went by. We talked about a lot of scholarships, places to study abroad, and the different programs that UW is and isn’t affiliated with. Hours upon hours of going in to talk to Natalia and Cecilee and applying to so many different scholarships has led me to this; being a writer for Voices from Around the World at a terminal in SeaTac.
I chose Paris as my location because of many reasons. It has a connection to my Vietnamese heritage. I’ve always wanted to go to Europe since I can remember and experience the rich culture it has to offer. My liking for romantic comedies has also led me to going to Paris. At first I didn’t want to go because of all the responsibilities that will be upon me and the people I’ll dearly miss, but it will be a life-changing experience and it will help me grow to become more independent. Even before leaving my house I learned that I should check my pant pockets before putting it in the washer.
While abroad I plan on FaceTiming and Skyping my friends and family, communicating to them through text and a voice app I use often called Discord. I was very sad that I couldn’t see my mom before I left because she had a wedding to attend down in California, but I had the company and support of my older brother on the way to SeaTac.
I would describe the U.S. and Americans to be a large community full of different cultures. Some of us are adventurous folks and some of us are those who like to dwell in the back line. But no matter where we are in the U.S., we are always a friend, we are class mates, we are neighbors, but most importantly, we are always family.
Some of my worries while abroad is not being able to see my friends or family in a long amount of time. The longest I’ve been away from them was a month while I was in Boston, but I stayed at a family’s house for most of the time I spent there. I’m sure my mother is worried because she’s been calling me every day to check in on how I’m doing before I leave, but she’s a soldier and she doesn’t like to show her negative emotions to me.
I did my packing the day before my flight and I’d say it was successful! I checked in 1 bag, have a carry-on, and my backpack with me. At first I thought I was okay with luggage space and thought I would have a lot of room leftover, but as my laundry started to finish up, and I was putting more and more ”
essential” clothes in, I saw the rise of clothes and decline of free space in my luggage. It’s always better to overpack than under pack, but going abroad to a place I’ve never been before, I plan on buying gifts and souvenirs.
This whole process has been very hectic and I’ve been all over the place, but I believe this trip and experience will be all worth the trouble!